When I started the Kegworth Times, back in August 2019, I imagined that I’d meet with a small group of year 6 kids who were interested in writing. I wanted to share my journalism skills and support those kids to write news articles about school life. I created kegworthtimes.com to showcase their work.
I quickly learned that Press Gang had an appeal beyond kids who were keen writers. In fact, Press Gang appealed to a diverse range of kids with very different skill sets. Every week they came together to collaborate on stories – writing about things that mattered to them. I was blown away.
There have been some challenges over the years – two long breaks during the covid lockdowns (although even then, there were some kids still sending me articles to publish) and post-covid restrictions that had me Zooming into Press Gang.
There has also been a lot to celebrate – Kegworth Times won ATOM’s Front Page competition three years in a row, and Press Gang interviewed Anthony Albanese, Jackie French and Chloe Logarzo. We’ve also published more than 400 articles online and print editions.
When I started Press Gang, I thought that kids would be developing their writing and editing skills. And they do. But they also develop media literacy, leadership, responsibility, collaboration and critical thinking. Then there is the value of having an audience, feeling heard and being part of a community.
With all of this in mind, I have decided to take the Press Gang model to more schools, starting in term 2. I’m very excited about working with more kids and introducing some brand-new school newspapers to the world. There will also be some opportunities for Press Gang kids to collaborate across different schools, there might even be an end-of-year Press Gang conference!
What does this mean for Kegworth? Well, the good news is that I will continue to run the Kegworth Press Gang, we’ll continue to put out a quarterly Kegworth Times print edition and we’ll still have Reporter of the Week and Humans of Kegworth.
But rather than publishing Press Gang stories on kegwothtimes.com we’ll be publishing them on our new site, pressgang.news. This means that all the schools in the School News Project will share a platform – giving all the kids a bigger audience for their work. I will also be re-branding the Kegworth Times social media to Press Gang News. To celebrate the transition, all the kids in the Press Gang will get a badge with our new logo.
I have been going through Kegworth Times and re-publishing some of the articles on the new site. It’s given me an opportunity to reflect on all the great work the Kegworth Press Gang has done over the last three and half years. There is so much to be proud of. And from here, it’s only going to get better.
Thanks for reading!
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