Community Reporters course – nearly a missed opportunity


Community Reporters evening courseArriving back from holiday in June, I just managed to catch an email sent on by Steve Ross (Area Support Officer, Citizens and Communities) at the Council. The email was about a course starting that evening. The course at South Leeds Life run by Jeremy Morton was intended to enable its students to prepare blog posts that could be used on South Leeds Life’s website and sent out to those on email.

The course was starting that evening and I was in a great panic to know if I could secure a place. The information promised to show you how to blog and how to use social media, as I am very new to that I thought it would be a great opportunity learn about social media and give something back to the community. Almost everything you touch has a Twitter or Facebook page.

I was very excited and panic struck as it dawned on me that it was starting that night. So I contacted the facilitator and left two phone numbers and two email addresses to make sure they knew about me. I quickly received an email from Jeremy inviting me to join.

Over the weeks we have gone through how to grab attention, what makes a good headline, fact or fiction? Can you believe all that you read in the newspapers?

On our first evening we were thrown in at the deep end which was quite scary. I wrote about Holbeck and what it was like to live an grow up in the streets around Brown Lane and Shafton Lane. To my complete surprise, as I could not possibly imagine that they would publish it, but there it was one morning in my email from South Leeds Life.

Since then we have had two field trips, one in the pouring rain. Why is there never a parking space close to where you want to be? Yes, we got drenched visiting the Leeds Central Library. It is some years since I had been in the Library and was surprised how open and lighter it seemed to be even though it was dark outside. The architectural features really stood out in the well-lit passages and stairways. For the first time I saw the history of Leeds as told in the Leeds Tapestry, it was truly amazing when you consider all the work that had gone into it.

Another week we went to Middleton Park, the last time I went they still had the putting green, more bare patches than green. That evening the park was host to Shakespeare in the Park and a production of the Comedy of Errors. There were plenty of people there watching with interest and it was great to see that there was so much interest in South Leeds. There were also plenty of fishing enthusiasts around the lake and I was surprised to learn how much fish were in there and surprised how willing they were to talk about it.

I feel I have come a long way since that first meeting in June and made friends. I would strongly recommend the course to anyone who wants to have a go at writing and a taste at journalism.

This article was written by Diane McHale-Fannon using our Community Reporters website

Places are filling up up fast for our next course which starts on Wednesday 5th October. Email to book your place!