On Thursday, the 18th of August I was invited to Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff to participate in ‘My Kinda Future”s Pop-up day. In association with Channel 4 and 4Talent, the pop-up allowed 150 media starters to take part in workshops and lectures from industry professionals.
I arrived at 8:15 am for enrolment. I was given a blue sticker with my name and ‘journalism’ printed on it. This would determine which workshop I would take part in.
After a brief introduction by the ‘hype man’ Ray (@LionHeartfelt), we dispersed into our relevant groups. Hosted by freelance journalist and Feet On The Ground editor Johanna Peyton, we continued the morning learning about what makes a successful journalist; and how to succeed in the industry.
Taking heed from the morning workshop, the pop-up participants were asked to get into groups of five and create an article relevant to the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Assigning roles for the group, I nominated myself as article’s copy-writer. After brainstorming an angle, we all agreed that our article would concentrate on ‘What has Wales done for the Paralympics, and what has the Paralympics done for Wales?’. With our headline established, the team trekked to Sofia Gardens in Pontcanna to visit Disability Sport Wales’ HQ.
As luck would have it, Sara Head (London 2012 Table Tennis Bronze-medallist) and her team mate Thomas Matthews had just finished training. Our team approached them and asked for a quick interview. Both Paralympians believed that the Paralympics has had a positive impact on disability sport participation in Wales, and both had seen an increase in athletes signing-up since the London games.
In addition to interviewing Sara and Thomas, our team also approached Nia Jones, who works with the community programme of Disability Sport Wales. Nia commented that ‘brilliant role models pushed the spotlight on disability sport and gets younger people into clubs and participating [in sport]’ and included some statistics in her interview. According to the figures, if Wales were a nation, it would have the most successful team per-medal, per-head at the 2012 games.
With such negative press about the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the media, it is apparent that it has not affected the athletes or their team’s momentum.
With an hour to construct the article and edit the videos we recorded, the team rushed back to Chapter in Cardiff. We pitched our final piece to Jo the Journalist and won the round to continue in the C4 competition. The final round consisted of pitching in front of all 150 participants and the media executives that were participating in the pop-up day.
With the lights shining on the stage of Cinema 1, team ‘Write On!’ stormed the stage confidently to pitch to the packed auditorium. Luckily, the odds were in our favour and the pitch went smoothly.
We won the competition! Our prize involves visiting Channel 4 HQ in London at a later date; which I cannot wait for!
You can view ‘Write On!”s winning article at Ciara Cohen-Ennis’ blog here.