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9 June, 2004

Award-winning young political journalist challenges peers to get involved in politics

The National Political Journalism Competition launched last summer to give 11-18 year-olds first-hand experience of the relationship between politics and the media.

16 year-old Liz Williams, this year's winner of the competition's 'print' category, used her entry to urge other young people to participate.

“We must use the luxury of our democracy to make our views count,” writes Liz in her winning entry. “This is our duty and our responsibility, but more importantly it is our privilege”.

She compares most young people’s attitude to politics to ‘people-watching.’ “We’re observers on the outside,” she writes. “But isn’t it better and braver to get involved?”

Liz and her fellow winners have certainly done so. Their reward includes invitations to Downing Street and a reception at Parliament on 30 June, where they will receive their prizes from the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr.

Launched in 2003, the competition invites 11-18 year olds to tackle a political issue of their choice in print, TV or radio.

“Taking part in the competition was a challenge, both to my personality and my abilities," says Liz. "Since entering, my whole attitude to politics has matured into a fuller and more positive understanding.”

The competition is organised by the Citizenship Foundation and sponsored by Norwich Union. It has attracted 240 team entries in its first year and demonstrated the range of political issues that engage young people. The most popular subjects included anti-social behaviour, lowering the voting age, and student top-up fees.

The winners were announced today, chosen by a panel from the BBC, Channel 4, The Times and The Mirror.


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