The importance of journalism to democracy

Paul was asked by leading Manx website Gef the Mongoose to write an article on the role of journalism in democracy.
It came after a row broke out over the Manx Government’s interaction with journalists at their regular Covid-19 briefings.
Paul’s piece, which can be read here, explains the historical importance of journalism in the Isle of Man as well as detailing why dogged reporting does not always make for compelling viewing – but it is the end the result that is the most important.

Sharing thoughts with primary school pupils

Paul gave a talk to year three pupils at Braddan School in the Isle of Man to help them with one of their tasks this year: to compile a class journal supplemented by a photo diary.

Braddan School pupils hear about the art of writingHe shared tips from his journalism background and also discussed what made a good photograph, before taking the children out of the class room to put into practice what they had discussed about pictures.

There was even time for some discussion on any celebrities Paul had met in his career and, despite their age, some of them were impressed to hear he once interviewed the late George Best!

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Press Gang reports on porridge theft

PS130622 (4)The first Press Gang workshop for aspiring young reporters was held at the Family Library on Saturday.

Paul Speller hosted the event, for children aged seven-11.

The children learned about what makes news, what sort of attributes a good reporter has, how to construct a good news story and good words to liven up an article.

They then put into practice what they learned by working together with Paul, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, to meet a tough deadline to write a news story.

Between them, the reporters managed to come up with a news ‘angle’ to the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears – deciding that, in fact, the real news to the story was that there was a porridge thief on the loose.

You can see a PDF of the news page they produced by clicking the link below.

Press Gang 2 June 22

There was also time for a short question and answer question, with the youngsters practising their reporter skills on Paul.

Afterwards, a number of children and parents expressed interest in similar events in the future.

Paul said he certainly hoped to hold further similar events, looking at different aspects of journalism.

He also thanked everyone at the Family Library for their help in putting on the workshop.

  • We’re interested in any feedback from parents and children about what sort of things future Press Gang events could cover and whether there would be any interest in holding a series of workshops events, concentrating on a different theme each time (eg writing headlines, sport reporting etc).

We would also like to hear from anyone from different age groups who might be interested in an event aimed at them.

You can email your feedback using the form at the bottom of the page.

Follow Paul on Twitter: @Norbertsdad

You can take a look at Paul’s blog here .

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Stop press! Family Library scoops Paul Speller to host young journalists’ workshop

Press GangPaul Speller will give advice to aspiring young reporters at a workshop in the Family Library.

Paul is hosting the event, for seven to 11-year-olds, on Saturday, June 22.

Budding journalists will be able to learn the rules of reporting, have a go at writing a news article and even hear some tales about the funnier side of life in a newsroom from Paul, who has been involved in the media in the Isle of Man for more than 20 years.

Father of two Paul is a former news editor and acting editor at Isle of Man Newspapers and is now a freelance journalist, working for both local and UK national publications.

He is well known for his hard hitting and humorous columns on everything from politics to family life and, during his career, has put every chief minister on the spot, met soap stars and football legends and interviewed celebrities ranging from Samantha Barks to Doctor Who.

Paul said: ‘I first knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was seven, so I imagine there are others out there of similar age who might appreciate the chance to learn a bit more about the job.

‘We’ll take a look at the basic writing skills for a reporter – skills that can be used for writing in any form – as well as investigating what makes a good story and we’ll have a go at making our own headlines.

‘It will be informal and fun – and the skills we learn will be just as handy for writing homework as working on a newspaper.’

The aspiring reporters will also be able to turn the tables on Paul and get him to answer their questions, instead of Paul being the one doing the asking, as he is used to!

Librarian in charge at the Family Library, Mary Cousins, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured Paul’s expertise for this workshop, which is one of many events we have lined up for a packed summer of activities, including our summer reading scheme – details of which will be revealed soon.’

The workshop takes place in the Family Library, Westmoreland Road, Douglas, from 1.30pm to 3pm on Saturday, June 22. Tickets are £5. To book a place, contact the Family Library on 640650.

Related article

Family Library open day

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