A student blogger has teamed up with a local newspaper to launch a blogging contest aimed at young teenagers.
Battle of the Blogs 2014 was sparked by 17-year-old Nicholas Fearn, who likes to blog about technology, and is being run in partnership with the South Wales Evening Post.
Fearn, who has Asperger's Sydrome, told Journalism.co.uk over email that his experience of running a blog "has made me a very strong-minded person", and he added that pursuing a blog can also help young people when it comes to entering employment.
"Blogging is such a great skill to have as it shows employers that you have an understanding of how digital media works," he said. "Also, it’s creative and will help you with your literacy."
And, for him, he added, it "is a way to express my inner feelings and opinions, though it has generally taught me more about the English language and how the internet’s social side works".
The contest is open to secondary school children aged 11 to 16. Those who wish to enter can do so by sending a link to their blog, along with the name of their school, their form class information and their email address to email@example.com. The contest deadline is Saturday 8th March.
The winner will secure a £1,000 prize for their school, and their work will be published on the newspaper's own online blogging section.
Managing director of SWW Media Tony Dowling, who is part of the judging panel, described Fearn as "very driven and single-minded, particularly when it comes to his aims".
In addition to already having worked with Fearn in the past to help support his media ambitions, including a social media-focused work experience placement with the newspaper, Dowling also enjoys blogging himself, and just like Fearn, considers it "an essential life skill".
Therefore, it "was another perfect match for us to support him in this undertaking", he said, adding that it is also a "lovely thing for the Evening Post to be involved in supporting the local schools".
Sharing some advice for his peers, Fearn, who hopes to "one day enter the world of professional journalism", encouraged others interested in blogging to "stick at it".
"Success isn’t going to happen overnight. But most importantly (when it comes to thinking about content), you need to do what’s best for you and enjoy the process – and don’t treat it like a chore!"
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