Most 11-year-old boys just want to destroy things. Be it in real life or in gory video games. Some might have lofty career ambitions, perhaps to be vets, or jet fighter pilots, but few go on to realise them. Even fewer actually start their first career steps at that age, being too embroiled in school studies and pre-adolescent angst.

But in a smaill village somewhere in the West Midlands five years ago, one young man had other ideas.

When Nic Parkes was 11 years old he found that his young age was preventing him from getting work experience as a journalist, a career he had his heart set on. But instead of accepting that he would have to put his ambitions on hold, he went home, built a website, and began aggregating news about the village where he lived.

Interest in his site grew quickly. At first it seemed odd to neighbours that their village might have an online presence. But Nic saw the opportunity their interest brought and enlisted the help of friend Nathan Littleton to begin filing their own stories about life in Rubery, West Midlands.

Over the next five years interest in the Ruberyvillage news site snowballed, gaining momentum and young volunteers willing to act as reporters, to a point where it was regularly generating 200,000 page views a year.

Not bad considering Rubery is nestled in the sleepy commuter belt just south of Birmingham, has a population of just 16,000, and was already served by two local newspapers - the Bromsgrove Advertiser and the Bromsgrove Standard.

Nic managed to stay ahead of the local weeklies by updating daily - the Standard has only recently changed from publishing online weekly to updating daily.

Eventually, he even struck a deal with the Standard to share story and picture leads.

But the technological advantage was not what kept readers interested; success was thanks to genuinely good local stories.

Ruberyvillage developed a sports sub-site and carried village news channelled into distinct categories: local, crime, district, county and schools news.

The site even created a Random Rubery Residents' Ramblings section, a platform on the site for local residents to write about issues that they considered important.

Nic, who is now 16, eventually became managing editor to a staff of 17 regular contributors, all of whom were under 18 years old.

All the work for the young staff was squeezed in at weekends and between homework in the evenings.

In 2004, RuberyVillage carried a story about a local man who trapped his head between a wall and the motorised disabled toilet he was repairing, it alone generated 20,000 page views on the site.

The story gained the young editor some notoriety in his neighbourhood, although strangely little kudos considering all his effort, not that he was bothered.

"My school's reaction was 'we know it is happening and we think it is good, but we don't really know what it is you do so we'll acknowledge it but not say so much'.

"After a while my parents both just smiled and accepted that it was there.

"We got satisfaction from what we had done, by looking at what we had achieved, and even if no-one else recognises that, you recognise it yourself," said Nic.

Ruberyvillage would regularly carry upwards of 20 news stories a week and by last year the site had become so popular it registered more than 248,000 page views.

Over the same time the Standard - a staffed paper with a circulation of 40,000 serving a town of 87,000 people - received 870,000 page views.

By last year the workload became so great that four editors were needed to check and uploaded the work of contributors, passing on to Nic stories that might have more tricky legal ramifications or need his 'experienced' eye.

But nothing could really prepare Nic for the phone call he received at 11pm on 13 May last year.

The then 15-years-old-editor claimed he was contacted by George Galloway demanding that a comment story on the site that referred to the MP as a ‘madman’ was removed.

Nic said: "He was determined that he was going to get what he wanted.

"He explained to me something about what my job was as the editor, and that I needed to check stories before they were published.

"I told him that I would take it [the offending story] down and look at it, but if I felt that I could put back on then I would."

Nic added: "I was the editor and I decided it was fair comment so we put it back up on the site and left a message on his answer phone telling him we had done so, but we never heard from him again.

"The fact that we got so many hits and the fact that someone like that [George Galloway] recognised us was evidence that we were doing a good job."

However, as the prospect of GCSEs at Waseley Hills High School loomed ever closer for Nic - and others - something had to give.

What little sleep he was getting was slowly being eroded and a future as a paid reporter might require just a few qualifications, so he and his team decided to call it a day.

"I was spending too much time managing the team of 17 volunteers.

"Everyone in the team was moving on at the same time, and it had become such a mammoth task to manage it all, so instead of letting it drift we felt it was better just to close it down."

The team decided to step out with a bang. Nic got a £5,000 grant from a local community project to organise and host a village festival.

The last filed words on Ruberyvillage were written pitch-side from the festival's football area before the team drifted apart to spend the summer nervously waiting for GCSE results and planning and dreaming about bright futures.

"We started just aggregating other people's news, but we became a news site that was involved with the community and eventually we ended up making the news ourselves," said Nic.

"But I don't know what's next, I guess I'll just go with the flow until something else comes along."

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