Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) Competition

Our students, Vidyuth Vijay Krishnan (2E), Chen Ruilin (2H) and Foo Yong Zhe Clarence (2I) had an eye-opening experience in investigative journalism (in the context of sustainability) at the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition. Organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the competition encourages youths to speak up about environmental issues in their own country and advocate possible solutions to resolve these issues through the medium of an article, photograph or video. 

Our students worked on the articles and documentaries over October and November last year and submitted their work before the competition deadline of 1 December 2022. The results were then released on 13 March 2023, followed by an awards ceremony last Friday. 

Prior to this competition, our students had no training in investigative journalism. To prepare for it, they started brainstorming on their chosen topics weeks before the deadline. A Channel NewsAsia broadcast journalist, who had previously filmed a documentary on local biodiversity, was invited to give a sharing during one of their CCA sessions to provide feedback on the students’ chosen story angles.

After receiving her feedback, the students began their writing process. They also read and analysed similar types of articles and did extensive research on their chosen topics, such as the process of manufacturing plastic, the extent of light pollution, as well as the impacts of these issues and current measures already taken to curb them. 

As part of the process of investigative journalism, the students conducted their own surveys with members of the public (outside of school) as well as field research. They conducted Google surveys, analysed the results gathered and presented the data in their articles. They also made observations of their own neighbourhoods with regard to plastic waste disposal and excessive use of light. 

Vidyuth participated individually and won the first prize, while Clarence and Ruilin participated as a pair and won the third prize! As part of the prize line-up, the students will be given an all-expenses paid half-day field trip to St. John Island on 16 April, which will include an intertidal biodiversity walk, an around-the-island boat trip and nature tour. 

YRE Competition
Vidyuth Vijay Krishnan (2E), Chen Ruilin (2H) and Foo Yong Zhe Clarence (2I) at the awards ceremony on 24 March 2023.

Our students also shared about their experience of the Young Reporters for the Environment Competition, as well as their views on sustainability and investigative journalism: 

“This competition was hugely enriching for me in my quest to become a better writer. I was given the opportunity to really participate in the whole process of journalism; collecting data, providing my own analysis, offering solutions etc. to highlight the problems we face in society. I also experienced how journalism is a powerful force for good, with its ability to shed light on such issues to the masses so there is an incentive to tackle them.”

Chen Ruilin (2H)

“I found the competition very enriching, as I learnt new things about plastics every step of the research, like the process of manufacturing plastics and the steps Singapore is taking to address plastic pollution. Youths should understand that sustainability is not only for the earth, but also for themselves in the long run as it is the Earth which provides sustenance for all living beings.”

Vidyuth Vijay Krishnan (2E)

“I found that the competition was an excellent opportunity for me to test my writing skills in an investigative context. Through my research, I have learnt that while the effects of light pollution are often, ironically, less visible, it is an important issue that needs to be addressed immediately, especially in the most light-polluted city in the world-- Singapore.”

Foo Yong Zhe Clarence (2I)

Overall, we are proud of our students for demonstrating resilience and diligence in preparing for the competition. Their achievements were also made possible with the guidance of the invited CNA journalist and teachers, who provided feedback on the students’ work and helped them in revising their story pitches and angles multiple times!