Mum-of-two and journalist Kirsty Day, and social entrepreneur Grace Dyke have taken Media Cubs in its stride throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, as they continue to create an open space to educate children in the world of media.
Kirsty – who has worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years at the Manchester Evening News, has created a world of pop up-tv studio and newsrooms that inspire kids from all backgrounds to take part in producing news.
Speaking about the inspiration behind Media Cubs, she said: “It stemmed initially from my one of my sons who just felt like creativity was being sucked out of the classrooms, by no fault of the teachers whatsoever, it was the fact that the new system in terms of how they will be in effect and tested.”
She added: “The second part, for me, is to make sure that young people have a voice. We work with seven to eleven-year-olds, and it’s just as important that they get to be able to become competent communicators and be able to close that confidence gap.”
From the hearts of school clubs and joys of parties, Media Cubs have been making waves throughout the Manchester community.
However, as the rampant Coronavirus began to put UK businesses at risk, Kirsty took the chance to take Media Cubs online.
“We’ve had a great response. We first did it in the summer, for our first lockdown newsrooms, and we are just picking up another round of that, so the positives have been that it is very transportable.
“Normally speaking, we’ve either been in a community setting, or in a classroom where we transform it into a newsroom.
“But what we’re doing is creating a pop-up TV studio’s and newsrooms. It’s easily done in the virtual world too, so we can connect with children while they are at home to keep them entertained, but also staying safe.”
Although the purpose of Media Cubs is to get children to interact with inspiring journalists, Kirsty also believes that it’s important that children continue to learn through the pandemic. However she understands that their emotional well-being and mental health is currently the top priority.
“When we did our virtual newsrooms in the summer, we did a partnership with an organisation that worked with young people who might be struggling emotionally. So, we did that session and continue to do that now.
“Where if we are discussing a certain new topic, we can give them the tools necessary to be able to know how they deal with their emotions around how the news has made them feel and how to make sure we all switch off and do something else.”
As a mum herself, she understands the pressures parents have faced and said: “The struggle is real, I’m a parent and I know that it’s difficult to be able to work at home, while also balancing the time you’re able to support your children.”
She explained: “The idea being is that we want to be a support mechanism for parents who are working as well as being able to juggle and deal with the home life.”
Whilst Kirsty is taking in the positives of the Media Cubs and hopes to run face to face sessions soon, she’s also relishing the long-term prospect of future expansion.
“We want to continue to grow, and our starting point is across Greater Manchester. But we’ll be working with partners to make sure that we can do that across the country and what the virtual newsrooms have done for us, is reach parts of the country much quicker than we would have done initially.”