First Newspage to be Launched By and For Children in Iran
The first edition of a children’s newspaper, written by and for children, will hit the news stands in the next few weeks after a group of youngsters from Tehran attended a journalism workshop – supported by UNICEF- in the offices of a local weekly newspaper.
Fourteen aspiring reporters between the ages of 12 and 15 worked with adult journalists from Hamshahri Mahaleh to produce “Tickling’ – a one page insert that is set to contain photos, interviews and news stories about life in the capital from a child’s perspective.
“The best thing about the classes was that it had such happy atmosphere.” 13-year-old Nayereh Mohammadi, who participated in the classes said:”I learnt that if my editor returned my article or didn’t publish it for any reason, I shouldn’t get upset or even disappointed.”
The children also learnt about the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and how young people can use the CRC as a source for story ideas and how to exercise their own right to freedom of expression.
The workshop was facilitated by two journalists from the UK who trained the children in reporting, interviewing, researching and editing.
Maisha Frost and Arjumand Wajid both work for MediaWise, an organization that employs working journalists to conduct training all over the world on subjects such as ethics, children’s rights and journalists’ codes of conduct. Both have extensive experience in youth media, having worked on similar projects all over the world.
“This is a very exciting and imaginative project to work on and we feel hugely privileged to be part of it,” said Arjumand Wajid from Mediawise. “We very much hope that Hamshahri Mahaleh has set an example that others will follow. Iran is a very young nation and the media’s role is extremely important and valuable in strengthening democracy. Including children’s voices in the media is crucial in shaping the country’s future.”
The children spent a day following a local journalist on the beat. They watched and learned about how to put together a story. They then had to write up their own article from the view of a teenager.
Staff at Hamshahri Mahaleh learned about the relevant articles in the CRC regarding the media and children’s rights, how to mentor and give guidance and how to get the most out of young people.
“Allowing children, through a well established and hugely popular local newspaper, to seek out and report on the issues affecting their lives provides a unique opportunity for young people in Tehran,” said Miranda Eeles, UNICEF’s Communication Officer in Iran. “It also instills in them a sense of responsibility and promotes participation in the society around them.”
Hamshahri Mahaleh weekly has a circulation of around 300,000 and is one of Tehran’s most popular newspapers. Each district of Tehran has a different version - in this way the paper reflects the issues relevant to that area of the capital.
The 14 children who took part in the workshop were selected by Hamshahri Mahaleh after they advertised for volunteers for the project. They come from different districts of Tehran and some of them have already had their work published in children’s publications and Hamshahri Mahaleh.