The heritage of hi-impact is deeply ingrained in education as well as in media. For the past few years we have been combining these in a unique initiative – the Tranmere Rovers Junior Media Team.
This is a specialist sports media course we design, organise and deliver to 9-13 year olds at Tranmere Rovers Football Club before Saturday home games. We train the children in match report writing, sports photography, interviewing, green screen reporting and vlogging. As part of the course, children get to spend time in the Press Box alongside the BBC and other reporters and also get to work at pitch side taking photographs with the club’s official photographer.
For Tranmere Rovers FC the course helps them engage with their junior supporters – the next generation of season ticket holders – and from our point of view we feel we are giving something back into the community in which we are proudly located. We have always been a Wirral business, developing from our founder’s dining room and having progressed to our current offices in Bromborough. hi-impact works with more than half of all Wirral schools and Tranmere Rovers is a centre of their community so it’s the perfect platform for bringing both parties together in a truly different Corporate and Social Responsibility scheme. Neither TRFC or hi-impact charges children to enrol on the course.
On the course children benefit from hi-impact’s media skills (the course content is designed by Jay Ellis, one of our professional photographers) and top-end, professional grade equipment, as well as our skilled educationalists. Tranmere offers unhindered access to behind the scenes areas, staff, players and the manager – it’s nothing short of awe-inspiring for the children when they get to sit in on post-match interviews or have a player to interview in front of a green screen studio! We also bring in experts to support our delivery of the course – TRFC’s official photographer Richard Ault helps with the sports photography and vloggers such as Greg Clayton and Luke Armitage are well known to junior TRFC supporters from their YouTube channels and social media. All this helps enthuse the children, giving them greater confidence to ask questions in interviews or get into positions for that perfect photograph.
At the end of the season, all graduates come to a presentation ceremony in one of Tranmere’s private boxes where Chairman Mark Palios addresses the children and their parents and presents them with a certificate. It’s something they can take away and be proud of, help them them in their school projects and hopefully inspire them to consider media as a possible future career.
We have had many lovely words of thanks from graduates of the course and their parents. The following quotes sum up the impact it can have on the children:
“Charlie has absolutely loved being part of the Junior Media Team – it’s really captured his imagination. He had me out on Sunday buying green material so he’d have his own green screen and our bathroom is now a recording studio – apparently it has the best light!! He’s conducted endless interviews with me and I‘ve been everyone from Mark Palios to the coach driver lol.. It’s got him really close to the players and he’s been talking about doing A level media studies – so that just shows the scale of the impact it’s had on him. To say it’s increased his love for the Club would be an understatement, everyone involved has been amazing with him.” (parent)
“It has increased my confidence and helped with my school work” (Dylan, a graduate of the Junior Media Team)
Some of the best children from the course have even gone on to work with staff at Tranmere, supporting them with media duties on match days to gain even more experience of working in Sports Media. Tranmere Rovers FC is the only club running this kind of course as far as we know – we aren’t surprised as it’s a very forward thinking Club and this is yet another example of hi-impact’s innovative use of technology to engage and inspire.
Written by Simon Sloan, Operations Manager, hi-impact