Children aged from 11 to 17 from three schools in the Norwegian town of Bergen contributed to the edition, writing articles, features and reviews.
“I think it’s important to remind our society that children also have a right to be heard and a right to state their opinions,” Editor-in-Chief of Bergensavisen, Anders Nyland said.
Young people are important: “They’re the future subscribers, the future journalist and our future leaders,” he said. “In the digital jungle of information it is of great importance to teach youth the difference between journalism, editor-controlled media and other kinds of information,” Nyland said.
The edition Nyland said, discusses issues important to Bergen youth. “We hope today’s paper might serve as a document on how children in Bergen in 2014 see the world around them, what concerns them and what they’re interested in.”
"This kind of project represents one of the most powerful tools news publishers have to ensure a new generation that cares about journalism as different from other content, giving young people the chance to try it themselves and, even better, to see their work taken very seriously,” WAN-IFRA’s Executive Director of youth engagement and news literacy Aralynn McMane said.
"It's particularly forceful that this is the main newspaper, not simply a special section within," she said.
Nyland and his organization want to promote freedom of speech among young people. “The convention states children’s freedom of speech, and their right to seek, receive and spread information,” he said.
“I see it as one of our tasks to engage children and youth in their local communities, and stimulate them to take part in youth politics, organizations, cultural activities.”
November 20 2014 marks 25 years since the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly.
Stories covered by the edition covered a wide range of areas Nyland said. “We have stories on why bus transport is getting more expensive, how students in collaboration with the Red Cross visit elderly that suffers from Alzheimers, how psychological pressure is increasing among high school students,” he said. “We also have en interview with the leader of the Bergen City Council, stories on high economic consume before Christmas, the Nobel Peace Prize, women in the Army, local theatres, our local football team along with film reviews and lots of other stories.”
Planning for the edition began in September. Johannes Bøyum, BA’s Newspaper in Education representative, contacted teachers from local schools. After positive feedback, senior news editor Jonas Mjaaland planned and designed the edition and allocated news, sport and reviews articles between three schools.
The move by BA has been received positively by the general public. “I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “People are so positive. We’ve received heaps of appreciative comments on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and our own website.”
WAN-IFRA actively promotes youth engagement and has produced a guide called World Teenage News Takeover to help editors involve young people in the production of news. WAN-IFRA will this week award the World Young Reader Prize. Frankfurter Neue Presse, a small German daily newspaper, won an award for Enduring Excellence in recognition of its annual edition produced by young people aged 14-22.