“Desks in the Aegean”: Island students shaping stories as editors

In the heart of the Aegean Sea, an initiative is taking root, fostering creativity and journalistic skills among young minds while uniting several islands in a unique project. “Desks in the Aegean” is the first inter-island school newspaper brought to life in the framework of the civil non-profit-making organization Regeneration & Progress’ programme, “Sports Paths”, with the journalistic guidance and support of iMEdD’s team.

The story of “Desks in the Aegean” began during the previous school year when it launched with a pilot issue centered around the theme of “Summer.” The June release marked the collaborative efforts of students from seven different islands (Agios Efstratios, Astypalea, Kasos, Kastellorizo, Lipsi, Nisyros and Fourni). Now, as we venture into the 2023-2024 school year, the project has set its sights higher, aiming to publish three issues in December, March, and June.

Schools, encompassing both secondary and primary levels, from a total of seven Aegean islands (Agios Efstratios, Astypalea, Kastellorizo, Kasos, Lipsi, Nisyros and Fourni) have registered to be part of this initiative. A remarkable 36 children from these islands have expressed keen interest in participating as editors in the newspaper’s creation.

Central to the project is the structured process through which these young editors contribute. Guided by Regeneration & Progress, the students propose topics and themes for the upcoming issues of the newspaper. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to prepare the articles themselves, enriched with guidance and advice from iMEdD regarding their journalistic approach. During their calls with iMEdD, they receive instructions on various editorial aspects, such as conducting interviews, making topics engaging, selecting compelling photos, and more.

The project’s unique feature is that it operates like a real editorial team, with each stakeholder having distinct roles. Regeneration & Progress acts as the editor, while the students become editors themselves, and iMEdD serves as the editorial advisor, guiding them along the way.

The involvement of teachers and tutors in this journey is of paramount importance. They act as “editorial directors,” coordinating and supporting the students throughout the editorial process. Their direct communication with Regeneration & Progress ensures seamless collaboration and assistance for the budding journalists.

The fruits of their labor will be proudly displayed for all to see. The issues are set to be published in PDF format on Regeneration & Progress’ website. There are also plans to print a certain number of copies, enabling the students to hold the tangible results of their hard work in their hands – a practice that was also followed with the June pilot issue.