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Dublin: -2°C Saturday 6 March 2021

Tired of bad news, teens launch free positive newspaper

The paper, called The Champion, was made by teenagers living in Dublin’s north east inner city.

The Champion
The Champion
Image: The Champion

A GROUP OF young people tired of reading ‘bad news’ have taken things into their own hands – and created a free positive newspaper.

The Champion is the resulting newspaper, which was produced under the auspices of the Youth Work Programme at LYCS (Lourdes Youth and Community Services) in Dublin’s north east inner city, and was funded by the County Dublin Youth Services Board (CDYSB).

The teens who put together the newspaper are aged from 13 – 19, and tired of reading in the media every day about young people hanging around and causing trouble.

The media have a habit of profiling young people as disaffected and disengaged. This builds up the notion within wider Irish society of ‘youth in trouble’ or even that ‘young people are trouble’.

This publication unapologetically champions young people, covering a wide range of topics and including detailed profiles of individual young people illustrating their work, ambition and achievements.

Good things

“They knew themselves that there were a lot of good things happening,” explained Sarah Kelleher, director of LYCS. “Their friends were achieving a lot and no one seems to comment about that.” She said that they picked the newspaper as opposed to any other media as “it’s the printed word people see and it sticks in their mind”.

They just thought it’s time somebody does something about it.

The teens understand why people want to read dramatic and negative news, and they aren’t naive about crime or other serious issues. But they feel that there are a lot of good things happening that aren’t being reported on.

Three thousand copies of The Champion have been printed, and will be going free into the letterbox of every house in the area. “I think they are hoping people will be pleasantly surprised,” said Kelleher.

The concept came from a small number of people, but in the end it took the work of at least 50 people to complete the whole project.

We had decided from the beginning that we wouldn’t just look at our own group and the people in it. It’s not just about us, it’s about teens in the north east inner city.

They contacted youth clubs, schools, and other groups to find out what positive news they had to share.

The Champion also serves to promote youth work, which Sarah says “is a very low-cost service to run, but it can have an absolutely amazing impact for young people in a community like this”. She added that cuts can have an impact on youth work, and that “the more you keep young people in youth work, the more things like this they produce”.

Read: Council’s report: Investing in youth work saves money in long run>

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