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Irish News launches 2023 Young Readers Media Project

Pupils from St. Joseph's Primary School, Slate Street with (L-R Front Row) Annette McManus (The Irish News), Guest Editor Annette Kelly (Little Penny Thoughts), (L-R Back Row) John Brolly (St. Mary’s University College), Emily Hogarty (EY) and John Walsh (Fujitsu). Picture by Mal McCann.
Allan Preston

A BELFAST classroom was transformed into a bustling newshub this week as The Irish News officially launched the 2023 Irish News Young Readers Media Project.

P7 pupils at St Joseph's PS, Slate Street, had the exclusive for the cross-curriculum project which brings lessons alive for thousands of pupils using the power of news.

The literacy initiative is aimed at 8-14-year-olds (Key stage 2 and 3) and provides teachers with eight weeks of ready-to-go literacy content and a weekly school edition newspaper.

Created in partnership with teachers, the goal is to empower pupils to access, understand, analyse and participate in the news.

This year's sponsors include: EY, Fujitsu, Exploris NI and St Mary’s University College Belfast, and follows a total of 6,000 children engaging with the project in 2022.

Guest editor Annette Kelly, mindfulness coach and founder of Little Penny Thoughts, will be at the helm once again and will be visiting and engaging with schools.

After signing up, participating schools will receive a teacher resource booklet to support classroom learning over eight weeks.

Central to the activities will be a weekly commissioned 32-page school edition newspaper, edited and printed featuring articles and interviews with people of influence covering key issues and topics impacting young people.

Schools will also have the option to access an e-paper, allowing students closer to home and abroad to participate.

Annette McManus, group marketing and communications manager for The Irish News, said the project was an excellent way for pupils to engage and learn about the world around them.

“When it comes to reading newspapers, it is often assumed that it is an activity for adults however familiarising young people with reading the news can help them to develop their literacy skills, including reading, writing, talking and listening," she said.

"The project is also designed to help students explore subjects, take part in discussions and learn to form their own opinions and ideas. Having met the Primary 7 pupils today at St Joseph's, I know first hand just how talented they are at spotting a good news story.”

Weekly discussion topics on offer this year will include; Introduction to Newspapers, Wellbeing, Environment, Fitness, Nutrition and Body Positivity, What's in the News?, Social Media, Diversity and Inclusion and Future Me.

Speaking ahead of the launch, The Irish News Editor Noel Doran said: "In a new media age, familiarising young people with the power of watching and reading the news can help them to learn, and develop their communication skills, including reading, writing, talking and listening.

"The news has always been part of school life, and it opens up the world around them, through forming their opinions and expressing their views."

Schools interested in taking part are now invited to register online at

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