S2R reporter, Rob, describes his experiences with this groundbreaking service
The iconic Football Association glass building in Soho is not the kind of place where you expect to hear hear the chatter of excited teenagers. Whenever I've seen it on the TV it has been the stage for football executives reading out statements about scandals, where the England team is announced and the FA cup draw is made.
Tonight it's full, with enthusiastic teenagers, education experts and teachers and sports stars: Steve Parry, Olympic bronze medallist, TV presenter and a legendary green pepper off Ready Steady Cook, Sarah Webb, one of the tantalising 'blondes in a boat' from the Beijing Olympics, and Giles Long, the inspirational triple-gold Olympic Paralympion. They are here to support the rapidly growing Supporter To Reporter (S2R) project.
S2R was created in by Radiowaves, in partnership with Lancashire Cricket Club, to give young people an insight into what it's like to be a journalist through creating written, audio and video sports reports that are broadcast on a dedicated internet "channel". It started out in August 2007 with 10 students from Manchester, and since then has expanded to more than 100 reporters nationwide.
I was one of the reporters from the beginning, and I have been a voyager on many exciting expeditions. I visited BBC, ITV and MUTV studios, and press conferences and football and cricket matches, However, I reached the pinnacle when I went to the Guinness Premier League final last May. What I encountered on this journey was phenomenal.
On reflection, there wasn’t a dull moment and I think it's splendid to see the people that made these things happen, at the FA headquarters with us, celebrating our success.
The skills gained on this course have been admirable and I have been taught by a range of industry professionals and sports professionals. Not everyone who joins S2R wants to be a journalist, and that's the great thing. Young people can learn communication skills, time management, and increase their confidence by getting involved in the sporting media. Skills like this inspire young people to aim high in life and live out their dreams.
S2R provides many skills for those students who are not as ‘visible' as others. It teaches them a range of unique abilities. It opens their minds to different types of media and how they are used, and even helps them decide career pathways. And taking part in a course like S2R adds real value to a curriculum vitae.
At the FA launch it was great to see so many young people having the confidence to speak from the heart in public. Too often the media is negative in its portrayal of young people. I feel proud along with my friends that we can help, in a small way, to invalidate that myth.
It is no exaggeration to say that Supporter to Reporter has changed my life. I feel so confident about my life and future right now, and I am delighted to be a part of S2R. My dream is to be able to share the project with young people all over the country, and to let them see what Supporter To Reporter can do for them.
Robert's S2R page can be seen at:
Anyone working with young people can get involved in S2R, from a small school to a regional or national group. Contact Damian Playton on 0113 246 9989 or go to www.radiowaves.co.uk/s2r to find out more.
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