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Pressed into service

The past and present resources of a regional daily are now within reach of schools, reports Sally McKeown.

Clearly it is in the news-paper industry's interest that we have a society which values reading. I also think it is in the interests of society as a whole," says Bill Walker of the Hull Daily Mail.

His words are backed by an impressive commitment by the paper to education in the Humberside area. Its CD-Rom, A Newspaper At War, was launched earlier this year. Photographs and articles from the archives of the Hull Daily Mail have been supplemented by local oral history sources and Germans' accounts of raids.

Students can work through the five sections Hull and the Blitz; The Bomber Offensive; Refugee; Women at War; War at Sea in a variety of ways. They can browse, use the concept menu to track references to topics such as censorship or propaganda, or click on a video window and listen to the suggestions of one of the guides.

The teaching notes have been written by teachers and provide both structured and open-ended activities. They do not assume every pupil will have non-stop access to a computer. This is an ideal resource for key stage 3 history and humanities work and for media studies in further education.

The Hull Daily Mail is also pioneering new developments in Newspapers in Education. It has set up a NIE department with seven full-time staff to work in schools on newspaper-related activities designed to improve reading levels. The newspaper office has a community classroom, furnished with Apple Macs. It offers placements, workshops and in-service training for teachers as well as debates on the media, work experience and careers advice for older pupils.

This ambitious project is set to run for three years at a cost of Pounds 750,000. It will be evaluated by independent researchers to see if there are long-term effects on achievement, motivation and family readership. If it proves successful it could catch on nationwide.

* A Newspaper at War PC Pounds 69.50,from Curriculum Development,Amy Johnson School, Ringrose Street, Hull HU3 5QB. Tel: 01482 574004.

* NIE co Bill Walker, Hull Daily Mail, Beverley Road, Hull HU3 1XS.Tel: 01482 221811.

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