Translink Little Reporters 2019 from St MacNissi's Primary School get the scoop!
Dozens of young reporters, who won a £1,000 prize and a unique journalism experience in the annual Translink Little Reporters competition, descended on the Belfast Telegraph's offices last week before being sent out on their first job to Translink's Train Maintenance Depot. The 30 aspiring writers were victorious in the competition after submitting impressive articles highlighting the benefits of travelling by train or bus. Armed with pens and notepads, they recorded what they saw on their adventure and returned to the classroom to bring you this special report on their experiences.
'We were all very excited to go to the Belfast Telegraph. When we walked in they were very welcoming. Brett, who is a reporter, told us about the “Five Ws” of writing a story. They are “what, when where, why and who.”
'We were really surprised to see a double decker waiting outside our school, provided by Translink to bring us to our fascinating tour and collect our extraordinary cheque!”
'We headed for the editorial floor and met Kevin Scott (the very talented photographer). He taught us everything he knows and even let a classmate take a picture with his expensive camera.”
'Next on our tour was Claire Williamson, a Deputy News Editor, and she talked about how they came to find news. She exclaimed, News comes from everywhere; sometimes we find it, sometimes it finds us!”
'A short bus trip later we were at Adelaide Train Maintenance Depot. We were given a tour and we wrote down lots of facts and figures, and listened attentively.”
'The children went into a train simulator to learn how to drive a train. It takes around a year to learn to drive a train.”
'We don’t think that putting the responsibility of driving a train into 10/11 year olds hands would be such a good idea!”
Clodagh & Aoife
'After that we went to the train depot where we were shown a train that they were repairing.
Did you know that one carriage weight 64.3 tonnes?! There are 8 wheels on a train carriage and the wheels are called bogies. Trains are allowed to go at 90 miles an hour.”
'Translink want to be peoples’ first choice for travel. They want a brighter future for the world.”
Following the unique opportunity to learn about news and Northern Ireland's public transport network, the young writers and their teacher Fiona Donnelly were presented with their cheque for £1,000.
"Having learnt about report writing in the classroom, it was great for the children to experience it in a real-life context and to get a taste of life as a journalist today," Ms Donnelly said.
"They were particularly interested in the photography and digital aspects of the newspaper and were surprised by just how much work goes into preparing the paper for print."
The teacher now believes she has quite a few budding journalists and engineers in her class but for now, they are all focused on their next challenge - working out how to spend their prize money.
"Some initial thoughts have been to put it towards further developing our outdoor area at school so the whole school community can benefit - but I'm sure we'll keep some aside for a well-deserved treat," she said.
Speaking about the competition, Translink said:
“On behalf of everyone in Translink, I want to take this opportunity to say a huge congratulations to St. MacNissi’s Primary School on winning this year’s Little Reporters competition!
We enjoyed reading the competition entries and welcoming the winning class to our Train Maintenance Depot where they learnt more about the workings of our public transport network.
The children certainly demonstrated a keen desire to get to grips with the many benefits of public transport and our team was thrilled to answer their burning questions, helping them form their news story.
We hope the £1,000 cash prize will provide the class with more learning resources and they will continue to be advocates for public transport!
Well done again everyone!”
Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive, Translink