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This article was published 3/3/2012 (2906 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Students and teachers in the North End, fed up with the negative attention their neighbourhood often receives, have launched their own newspaper.
The FWD: North End Youth Newspaper is the brainchild of a group of teacher candidates from St. John's, R.B. Russell and Children of the Earth high schools.
The idea was originally spawned from a North End Community Renewal Corporation annual general meeting, after the group of student teachers heard residents and local business owners argue the need for a student-led, community newspaper in the North End, said Kale Bonham, a teacher candidate at St. John's High School and one of the co-ordinators of the FWD.
"The newspaper was sort of a response to the negative media that we hear quite frequently in the North End, so we want to keep it filled with positive stories, things that make you feel happy about living here," she said.
The publication brings together students from all three high schools, in grades 10 through 12, who are all gaining hands-on journalism experience researching, writing and editing their articles with the help of a handful of local media professionals, Bonham said.
"That was one of the things we intended for the newspaper to do, so that the people involved in it can get training and have job-readiness."
The name of the publication reflects its mission to "move the North End forward" by sharing news on community events as well as creating a forum for students to publish articles on their interests, which include everything from favourite YouTube channels to local Winnipeg music acts.
Ultimately, Bonham hopes, the FWD will help bring the North End community together by giving them "good news and things to look forward to" in their neighbourhood instead of the bad rap their end of the city typically gets.
"I'm hoping that it's going to unify the community, give them something to brighten their day and a place where they can look to see what's going on in their community," Bonham said.
Antony Brouwer, a co-ordinator of the FWD who is also a teacher candidate at St. John's high school, echoed Bonham, stressing the need for a more positive community voice in the North End.
"There have definitely been some students who have expressed some frustration with the way their community is portrayed... but I think that's something that is in discussion all the time in the community," he said.
"It's hard to say whether they feel they don't have a voice at all, but I think that's part of the reason why we're providing them an opportunity to express things how they see it."
Brouwer said the co-ordinators of the FWD are hoping the publication will have a lasting impact on the community and have engaged other teacher candidates from the University of Manitoba to become involved "so that other people could maybe take over if we end up in different schools or different divisions."
"It may not be in the same form next year, but we're going to try to ensure that this has some sort of enduring impact."
Student involved with the FWD said writing for the paper has not only helped them improve their writing skills, it's given them an opportunity to have their voices heard.
Alishia Bell, a student at St. John's High School, said she decided to get involved with the paper after writing an article on her own time about her experience being bullied at school.
"I wanted to get it out there for other people that have been bullied... to help them in a way, too," she said.
Caryl Chua, who wrote an article about local artist Jo' Ann Kelly for the first issue of the FWD, said writing for the paper has helped her overcome her shyness.
"I used to be really shy and not be able to talk in a group. (The FWD) encourages people my age and younger that they can be part of anything," she said.
Bell agreed that writing for the FWD also helped her improved her communication skills.
"For me, talking to people that I've never met before, that was a big thing, because you have to go up to someone randomly and talk to them about their experiences. Before, I never used to do that. I grew up thinking... don't talk to strangers."
Rob Neufeld, executive director of the North End Community Renewal Corp., a local non-profit focused on social, economic and cultural renewal in the North End, said he is "excited" to support the FWD.
"I think our youth don't have enough opportunities to share their ideas and be involved in renewal, so we're happy" to be able to support their initiative, he said.
The first issue of the FWD came out Feb. 27. Issues will be distributed in each of the participating high schools, as well as several businesses throughout the North End and online at www.movethenorthendfwd.wordpress.com
Updated on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 12:17 PM CST: adds art