Over the last few months, Concrete has been working with the University of East Anglia’s Project Change to create Report for the Future, a climate journalism programme aiming to elevate young people’s voices during COP26.
Project Change is a new youth climate change programme of workshops, resources, and competitions from UEA. Alongside Report for the Future, Project Change are also running a speech-writing competition for 11–18-year-olds called ‘Dare to Speak Up!’, providing a range of learning resources for teachers, and held a stand at Norwich Science Festival where they presented the ‘Wall of Impact’.
Report for the Future was a competitive programme and applications were open to students from year 10 upwards. Successful applicants received media training from Editor-in-Chief of Concrete, Dolly Carter, which included an exercise on debunking media jargon and an explanation of the best practices for covering climate stories. The group also worked through article writing exercises to help them choose impactful quotations, devise punchy headlines, and keep the reader engaged using the inverted pyramid structure.
After the training session, participants were allocated a day of COP26 to monitor and, through the creation of a one-page report, used live coverage, news reports, and social media posts to construct their own responses to the subject from a youth perspective. Concrete also provided a group of 19 volunteers who were on hand to give advice and answer questions which arose throughout the duration of COP26. The Concrete team members shared their advice and expertise through a monitored group chat by posting links to useful articles, sharing interesting insights on COP26, and providing general guidance to the participants.
As a pilot programme, Report for the Future proved to be a successful collaboration between UEA and Concrete to help passionate young people influence the climate change conversation.