Friday, 26 February 2016

Teenagers and newspapers, is that even a thing? - by Pavani Konda.

The tradition of news goes back centuries and newspapers have been part of our lives for more than 300 years, but this age-old medium is now in decline. The Independent is closing shop, physically at least, to become the “first fully digital newspaper”.

But what does the possible disappearance of print media mean for someone like me? 17-years-old and belonging in the so-called ‘next generation’.

When I was younger, I used to scan broadsheet headlines because that’s what my parents did, it felt like a grown up thing to do. In secondary school, I joined a team of school reporters with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of finding an interest. I have always fallen into a group of young people who follow the news and it helped that everyone I met told me this was a good habit.

Like me, a lot of young people are interested in the news, organisations such as the British Youth Council and the United Kingdom Youth Parliament are example enough of thousands of young people who care about local issues. Having been a previous member of these charities, I've interacted with young people across the country that followed the news and were keen on voicing their opinions. However, the platform that most of these young people follow the news on is the internet.

According to Ofcom, in 2014, 60 per cent of young people aged 16-24 consumed news through social media or the internet. I think the reason for this is because of the way young people can interact with news online in a way that print can’t offer.

Almost every time I search for something on Twitter, if a trending hashtag catches my eye I find myself clicking away through the links presented by those hashtags. It’s common for me and my friends to bring up a piece of news and someone in the conversation to say ‘I saw that it was trending all over Twitter’. For young people who are keen to be part of a bigger conversation, who don’t want to just read the news but share their views and, more importantly, get a variety of opinions; Twitter and other platforms such as Reddit are the perfect fit.

With young people enjoying so much interaction with news on digital platforms, are we the reason that media outlets are turning to the internet?  After all, we are the future audience the future media will be targeting. It’s possible. I will admit that despite being a young person interested in current affairs, I have never actually bought a newspaper, except for those times where I got a free bottle of water. I didn’t see the point of spending money for the exact same content I have access to on my phone, at times in a more digestible form. For a generation with small attention spans, it makes sense.

The shift of print to online platforms is similar to the change of technology in other aspects of our lives. Just like how a few decades ago vinyl records became cassettes which then became CDs and now CDs are becoming digital. The medium has changed but it’s still music we listen to.

Technology in all its formats develops to work around the evolution of lifestyles. We are becoming more digitally demanding. Why wait for tomorrow’s paper when you can get 24-hour news alerts on your phone?

One day the majority of print will shift online, but as long as the generations before me are around, so will print. Who knows, maybe one day the place to find newspapers will be small ‘retro’ stores, tucked away like the places many people go hunting for vinyl records today.

Pavani Konda is a 17-year-old, Year 13 student at Whitley Academy.

Whitley Hosts Prestigious English Speaking Union (ESU) Competition

The English Speaking Union (ESU) was founded by Sir Evelyn Wrench in 1918. Winston Churchill was the patron of the competition and its purpose was to give young people the opportunity to be more vocal about their opinions and to develop their confidence.

This year the competition took place on Friday 22nd January 2016, hosted by our own school in the Auditorium.

Read our report of the event written by Shannon Mutton, Year 10 student.

Year 9 Students Exhibit Art at Herbert Gallery

Year 9 Art students have been regulars at the Herbert Art Gallery recently, working with artist Monica Petzal.

Monica Petzal is currently exhibiting a body of work called the ‘Indelible Marks: The Dresden Project’. Coventry and Dresden are twinned cities, symbolising an act of peace and reconciliation. The British Dresden Trust, founded in 1993 and committed to a lasting British-German friendship, grew out of the ashes of the city of Dresden.

The Year 9 students have been working after school on a huge monopoly board based on Coventry's history, using the research collected from working with Monica, and the Herbert History Centre.

They recently presented their finished artwork to all the Herbert Gallery staff, as well as two members from the V&A, and Monica Petzal herself. The monopoly board is currently on display at the Herbert Gallery, and will return to Whitley Academy next week for all its students to see.

Helen Storey's 'Limb Bud Dress' On Display In Whitley Reception

'Limb Bud Dress', by Helen Storey, is part of the RSA Academies' 'Catalysing Teaching & Learning Project', and illustrates what happens in the early stages of human life, when the limbs start to develop from four buds. The two upper buds form the arms, whilst the two lower buds form the legs.

The dress will tour the RSA Academies between summer 2015 and early 2016.

We hope it inspires our students!

Whitley Hosts Year 7 'Africa Day'

On Friday January 15th, Whitley Academy hosted its annual Year 7 'Africa Day'. The Enrichment day is aimed at promoting the understanding of African culture, and recognising the diversity within our own country. Year 7 students tried their hands at mask making, African dance and sports, art, language, and fashion.

Whitley Welcomes 'Field of Jeans' Installation

Whitley Academy is delighted to welcome the 'Field of Jeans', an installation from artist Helen Storey, as part of the RSA Academies Catalytic Teaching and Learning Project.

'Field of Jeans' comprises what Helen Storey believes is the first-ever air-purifying denim. A photocatalyst on the surface of the fabric breaks down airborne pollutants when it’s exposed to light, resolving them into harmless chemicals that slough off in the wash.

“Behind almost all human advancement lies a science,” Helen says. “Catalytic Clothing is for me therefore, a collaborative and public experiment between fashion and science, in this case, a beautifully radical new concept which endeavors to purify the air that we breath through the surface of our clothes.”

Whitley Academy is extremely excited to be given the opportunity to exhibit these artworks and looks forward to exploring the concepts and themes as part of the creative curriculum.

Whitley Alumni Give Guidance to Year 8

FutureFirst have linked with the RSA to harness the experiences and skills of former Whitley Academy students.

Our Year 8 Opening Minds class were lucky enough to receive a Future First experience;  3 former pupils, Laura Lacey (Recruitment Officer for Jaguar-Landrover and Cadbury’s World), Ian Taylor (Ex-Conservative MP), and Kamila Adam (Second Year University student studying Accountancy and Finance at Northampton University) came into the classroom to give some helpful advice about future subject and career choices.

This was skilfully led by Future First’s Mwila Mulenshi, who clearly demonstrated how important Whitley Academy’s competency curriculum and subject choices link to employability in the pupils’ future.