The below portfolio was for part of my Writing for the Media module, for which I had to interview and write two news story, one for online and one for print. I also had to write up what I would do when given a certain press release.
News Story for Online
UK’s First Gender Neutral Toy Store Awarded “Toymark”
GenNeu, the Sheffield based gender-neutral toy store was awarded the “Toymark” from Let Toys Be Toys yesterday.
Roanna Mottershead and Chris Lynch, founders of GenNeu in Sheffield, received the Let Toys be Toys “Toymark” Good Practice Award yesterday after being nominated by online consumers of the gender-neutral brand.
GenNeu was founded by Roanna and Chris in October 2017 and launched in March 2018 from their Sheffield flat. It is the only shop in the UK dedicated to selling both gender-neutral toys and books that break stereotypes.
Chris said, “for us, gender neutral doesn’t mean denying gender exists, it means not reducing gender to a set of stereotypes or a particular colour.”
Roanna and Chris set up GenNeu after becoming tired of being unable to find non-pink/blue baby presents for their friends. Roanna said “We were shocked just how hard it was to find a present that wasn’t all about little princesses or mini macho men, so we decided to source our own and set up GenNeu.”
One studyfound that 31% of children’s books featured female central characters and they wanted to change this. They wanted to resort back to a time when colours were not definitive of gender and from this, GenNeu was born.
The “Toymark” is awarded to retailers who are inclusive of offering toys to girls and boys alike. Jess, a worker for the Lets Toys Be Toys organisation said, “giving children a wide range of toys helps them develop a rounded set of skills”, when asked why the award matters.
Whilst only available online for the moment, Roanna and Chris are on the lookout for the perfect location to grow their start up in the Steel City. In the mean time you can visit the shop online.
Pull out quote: “gender neutral doesn’t mean denying gender exists”
- Lets Be Toys organisation website: “Toymark” page
- Study on Gender in Twentieth-Century Children’s Books https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0891243211398358
- GenNeu online shop
Tweet:GenNue, the Sheffield based UK’s first gender-neutral toy store, received the Let Toys Be Toys “Toymaker” Award yesterday #equality XXXXX
News Story for Print
Northern Rail Strikes Again
Thousands of people were forced to cancel their plans for Christmas shopping yesterday after Northern Rail suspended all trains from Romiley as part of their strike action.
Northern Rail strike action began at 7am yesterday after members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union agreed to strike every Saturday in December as disputes over guards continue.
The union claims that the operator, Arriva, is refusing to engage in talks to guarantee guards on each train and in response all RMT members have been instructed to take action.
Northern have said they will be running around 30% of their services with “very few” trains running after 5pm on Saturdays.
The limited services available mean that people planning to travel to Manchester for the Christmas markets and Christmas shopping will have to find alternative routes into the city.
Northern has warned that the services that are running are expected to be extremely busy.
The affected dates are: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22ndand 29thof December.
Jo Goodwin, 36, spokes women of the Bredbury, Romiley and Woodley group, said that “I, as well as many others are unable to do their Christmas shopping this year. Working full time in the week leaves only Saturdays available to go into Manchester to shop.”
Without trains running from Romiley on a Saturday, some have had to use other public transport such as buses to complete their journeys. Jo said, “I wouldn’t mind but getting the bus requires changing three times, and you can’t drive to Manchester as there is no parking.”
Managing Director of Northern, David Brown, said; “RMT’s strikes are causing more and more unnecessary difficulty and inconvenience for our customers and significant loss of earnings for their members.”
Northern have offered to meet with the union, but no agreement has yet been made. Mick Cash, General Secretary for RMT said, “RMT remains available for talks.”
Pull out quote: “RMT’s strikes are causing more and more unnecessary difficulty and inconvenience”
Tweet: Many left unable to do their shopping this Christmas due to Northern Rail strikes preventing transport from Romiley to Manchester City Centre XXXXX
Press Release Response
To write a response to the news release the most important things to do are to check all the information given is correct, identify why it has been written and by who and identify the angle within the press release. I will be going through each of these in more detail below.
Who has sent it and why?
The press release has been issued on behalf of Biggin Comprehensive school. The reason for this is to promote their new all-weather outdoor sports pitch. Since it is written on their behalf it will only highlight the positives of the sports pitch and promote the use of it to other sport clubs. By begging the press release by stating who it is for moves the angle to being about doing good for the community, rather than what the school is getting out of it, or any issues that may have/have had.
Reliable sources and accuracy
All information and interviewees may not be accurate or reliable due to having their own agenda or opinion. In order to get the best and accurate story I would speak to an array of people and challenge all information that they give me. I would also follow up on anything they mention that I am yet to come across – such as a past event that happened.
Facts that need to be checked
To begin with, I would check the facts that the press release gives, such as:
- The spellings of names like Ion Hendrie – should it be Ian.
- The prices of hiring the pitch
- The hours the pitch is open
- The process for booking the pitch
- Who can book the pitch
- That Biggin school has already won the football trophy, as it says Kenny Cookes will give coaching to the ones who do win
Potential angles and stories
To identify which angle is correct, I would have to do more research and interview people (included below). These are the angles that I could take with the current information
- The disturbances caused at night by the pitch. As it is open until 10pm around a residential area, it may be causing problems for local residents
- Why the school needs the equipment and what exactly the money is being spent on
- Why the pitch was denied planning permission for flood lights
- Why the school appealed to get flood lighting. Did something happen to make them need it?
- Why Kenny Crookes was involved in supporting the appeal
- The under 16s football category
In order to identify a story, I would need to carry interviews. These are who I believe could help identify the story and give more information. I would also use quotes from these:
- The head teacher – more information on what the money is used for and why they need it. Also, more information on the pitch and the appeal
- Kenny Crookes – why he was involved in the appeal and what the under 16s category includes
- Local residents – if they have found any issues with the pitch being open until 10pm at night. What they know about the appeal for flood lights.
- School kids and sports club kids – when they use the pitch, if they enjoy it.
After identifying possible angles and carrying out the appropriate interviews, I would have a clear idea on what the best angle to use for a news worthy story would be. It would still be important however, to make sure I stuck to the facts and all the information I included was correct.
Word Count: 1301