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Paper looks to the future with young readers edition

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Archant London’s Ham&High flagship newspaper was looking to the future last week when it handed over the reins of the newspaper to aspiring young journalists for its landmark Young Readers’ Edition.

The 20-page edition – included in the centre of the weekly paper – was compiled entirely by young people aged six to 17 and published to mark Local Newspaper Week celebrating the regional press.

The Ham&High was overwhelmed by the hundreds of stories, pictures, poems and letters sent in for the special edition – and it appointed 13-year-old editor, Josh Rosen, to help choose the most unusual and captivating reads.

Josh, a Highgate School pupil, said: “I think it’s important for kids and younger people to be involved with their community and newspaper. Often there’s nothing that really brings them in and doing something like this helps because it brings you together with the rest of the people in the community.

“People have come up with lots of different and interesting ideas of what could go into Highgate to improve it.”

Josh was selected as guest editor after securing an interview with executive editor of The Times, Daniel Finkelstein, who revealed how he became fascinated by journalism after the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

The Young Readers’ Edition was developed in partnership with the Highgate Society and sponsor Hotblack Desiato to offer the next generation of local writers, roving reporters and community activists a voice in the Ham&High.

Kirsten de Keyser, chairwoman of the society, said: “I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed in the interest and the amount of young people from different organisations who responded so enthusiastically and the breadth of material they provided.”

On the pages of the Young Readers’ Edition readers found horror stories (lots of them), poems, pictures, and reports and the opportunity for creativity and innovation was embraced by all our young journalists.

The edition also caught the imagination of national media as guest editor Josh and Ham&High editor-in-chief Geoff Martin were interviewed on BBC Radio London 94.9.

Geoff said: “I was hugely impressed not just by the quantity but the quality of the submissions and it’s just a shame that we couldn’t fit everyone in. That just gives us a good excuse to think about doing the same thing again in the not too distant future.”

Young digital editor Logamathangi Surenthiranathan, 22, a video assistant at Exposure youth media, also took control of the Ham&High’s website and Twitter and Facebook pages. She led comment and discussion about the Young Readers’ Edition. and_youth_culture_1_2196862

Pictured above, Ham&High editor-in-chief Geoff Martin and young editor Josh Rosen (13), put together the Young Readers' Edition.

© Archant Ltd 2013