The Local Report Project
Training & engaging local people with local news
A communication project funded by the Big Lottery 'Awards For All' fund
delivered by Academy FM Folkestone
In 2016, Academy FM ran a project to train adult members of our community to produce news items for broadcast. In the past we've found that many Journalism students or graduates were keen to produce local news, but we wanted to involve a wider group of volunteers of all backgrounds and ages. The project was funded by the National Lottery's Awards for All fund, which paid for some recording equipment and salary costs of our journalist trainers Sarah Hagues and Helen Sharp.
We trained the volunteer 'Community Journalists' a variety of skills including how to write balanced news items, how to research, write bulletins, and broadcast on the radio. They learned basic journalistic and studio skills. The result was that a number of local people became more aware of what's going on in our community, and produced our regular News Roundup bulletins and even early-morning live Local News bulletins.
One of the project's strengths was that the trainees brought their local knowledge to our news output - they knew the news items which directly affected their communities. Another strength was how we involved adults whose ages ranged from 20s to 70s, and engaged people who were working in part-time jobs elsewhere but wanted to learn new skills and play a more active role in the community.
We engaged around 20 local adults, and many have stayed with us and are part of our regular volunteer pool. Some have expanded their skills, and do reporting on local events and writing for our sister website 'The Folkestone Status'.
We'd like to thank the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All for supporting this project. If you live in the Folkestone area and are interested in learning journalism skills, we are able to still train a small number of volunteers; call the office on 01303 721059.
The staff and volunteers at Academy FM would like to remember our Local Report trainee Sarah Stringer, who sadly passed away in 2016.