Recently we ran a story by Monica Leslie, who was our first Young Travel Writer competition winner, in 2009. It was fitting enough to see Monica's work again in the Travel pages, as we have also just launched our fifth year of the ompetition.
Monica had written a story on Neuschwanstein, in the Bavarian Alps, and entered it, along with photographs, in the competition. It began: "Beyond the forest of pine trees, past the fields of pristine glittering snow and the villages, filled with the standard cluster of Tudor homes and their stunning accompanying cathedral, lies a castle..."
Monica won with that entry, was given a Canon camera and then I took her away on assignment, with her dad as chaperone, to Kalgoorlie and to see sculptor Antony Gormley's Inside Australia statues at Menzies.
The following year it was Darcy Harwood and Alexander Port, who came to Ningaloo Reef, where we saw whales off Exmouth, turtles off Turquoise Bay and visited the station of Bullara.
The 2011 winners were Elise Svanberg and Sean Fitzpatrick, who came to Broome and the indigenous tourism set-up at Jarlmadangah, and last year we put together a program for 10 winners.
For me, the main point of the competition is the writing and photography workshops that we do on the road. They are scheduled into the days. I might do a session on portrait photography just before we head out to photograph people. Or landscape or movement photography, or interviewing skills. We work together and then debrief, looking at how we have tackled aspects of the story.
This year we have changed the competition's title a bit, from Young Travel Writer to Young Travel Photo Journalist, reflecting the leaning towards photography and videography, as our work changes and evolves.
But we are back with our tried-and- true formula, of a finalists' day for 10 talented youngsters, then the final announcement of two winners.
Canon Australia is kindly giving each of those finalists a Canon G15 camera, and we will hold our finalists' day at Kings Park and Botanic Garden on June 14. When it was suggested, the park immediately opened its doors in welcome and we'll be given a look at some of the science and conservation work that goes on behind the scenes.
Our friends at Skywest, WA's regional airline, have come on board to sponsor the competition. Skywest will fly the two winners with me and travel assistant Jan Bromilow to the Kimberley and back from July 3-5. And while we are there, Australia's North West Tourism will be showing us the West Kimberley. We will be flying to Derby with Skywest and visiting some very interesting places (more of this soon). It's my old stamping ground, the Kimberley, and I look forward to sharing some of my 25 years' experience travelling there.
And out of all of that, we hope that two talented youngsters will seize the opportunity for new experiences and perhaps new skills. And, of course, their stories, photographs and videos from the assignment will be published . . . their young view shared with you.
Since Monica Leslie won Young Travel Writer, she has finished school and is well into a university degree in psychology, which she finds interesting, "But sometimes I think I am crazy because I enjoy travel writing so much."
HOW TO ENTER
The competition is open to Years 8-12. Enter by Thursday, May 30, 2013. Email the following to youngtravelwriter @thewest.com.au:
Your own 300-400-word article about your local, interstate or overseas travel experience. A title for your article. Two of your own original photographs of the destination. (Attach as separate jpeg files.) Captions for both photographs. Your name, phone number, year level, school, teacher's name.
Visit here for full rules, contest details and helpful hints.For tips on how to write stories and take photographs that will put you in the running to be one of our Young Travel Photo Journalists 2013, and join him in the Kimberley, see Stephen Scourfield's tutorial Video Feature here.
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