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Student Zone

Young Financial Journalist 2019

The competition is now closed and we have our winners!
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We asked students to show off their journalistic skills and financial know-how by writing a 800- 1,000 word blog or article. For this year’s competition there were three age groups, with a choice of questions in each group.

In the first judging stage, each article was reviewed and marked by our internal panel of judges. The shortlisted articles from the first stage were then reviewed by our guest judge – Iona Bain – who determined the winners.

There were lots of very good entries received from schools around the country, which made judging extremely difficult!

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted entries.


Here’s what Iona had to say about the overall quality of the entries this year:

“I was very impressed by these budding financial journalists and their clear grasp of complex subjects like personal finance education, economics and banking. It was very tough to decide a winner for each category as every entrant had something to commend them.

Ultimately, I was looking for that “extra something” – a solid understanding of the topics, yes, but also an ability to write about them in an engaging, original and informative way. This is what really makes an excellent financial journalist and judging by this year’s winners, I may well be out of a job in the next few years.”

Here are the winners!

14-15 age group

Abbey School

Winner of the £150 prize – Ivan Hung, from Battle Abbey School, Battle, East Sussex
Here’s what Iona had to say: “This entry had bags of personality, with interesting references and appealing personal anecdotes. It clearly comes from a genuine enthusiasm for the topic, which is lovely to see. Yes, it has a slightly unconventional structure and could be a bit tighter, but ultimately I was won over by the writer’s willingness to take risks, look at the bigger picture and put forward a heartfelt appeal for financial education at an earlier age.”  

Read Ivan's article

Highly commended – Larina Wood, from The Portsmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth
Here’s what Iona had to say: “This writer has excellent analytical skills and has carefully considered the question to put together a methodical, sound argument for financial education in primary schools. I would have loved this piece to be a bit bolder to better showcase its (many) excellent points. But it shows the makings of an intelligent journalist who can understand tricky issues and convey them well.”

16-17 age group

YFJC

Winner of the £150 prize – Lucy Hargrave, from Benenden School, Benenden, Kent
Here’s what Iona had to say: “Wow: this is an outstanding entry. It’s informative, full of insight, entertaining and highly original – what more could you want? It's well-written and flows amazingly well with enough interesting external references to make it substantial but not too many to weigh it down. This writer knows exactly what it takes to make finance interesting, relevant and personable. A talent to watch!”

Here's what Lucy Hargrave said: "I firstly decided to write an article for the young financial journalist competition as it had some really interesting topics that I wanted to find out more about. I think the journalism aspect of the competition allowed the tone of the article to be more conversational which,as someone who has not written for many competitions, really attracted me. When preparing to write my essay I read lots of articles from different viewpoints on the topic and asked many of my friends on their opinions. This allowed me to gather information on lots of different ideas and come up with my own views on the topic.
When I heard I had won the competition I was totally shocked. Having never won anything like this before, I was so pleased to have given it a go and my work to have been recognised by an organisation as prestigious as the LIBF."

Read Lucy's article 

Highly commended – Amy Hersey-Dodd, from The Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre, Great Dunmow, Essex
Here’s what Iona had to say: “This writer packs an awful lot into this weighty, measured and insightful piece. The next stage for them is take a few more risks but its technical content is hard to fault, and I love the way they’ve thrown themselves into this subject to really get to the bottom of it – a great quality in any financial journalist.”

18-19 age group

YFJ runner up

Winner of the £150 prize – Lauren McLavy from Saint George’s Church of England School, Gravesend, Kent
Here’s what Iona had to say: “This was a winning entry for lots of reasons. It’s focused and engaging, putting forward the pros and cons of new banking technology in a concise, jargon-free way. I particularly liked the human dimension of this piece, which helps to make it more relevant and interesting. Combine that insight with a sharp journalistic style, and this writer shows real promise.”

Here's what Lauren had to say: “When I found out I had won Young Financial Journalist I was quite surprised because I didn’t expect it but yes I was really happy and I didn’t even realise there was a cash prize so that was a good surprise.  So I read the question and I thought, when I was planning my answer I just thought of the different points I could use and thought how I could link it back to everyday life and took it from there really. With the cash prize £150 I have booked a holiday so it is going towards that.”  

Read Lauren's article

Highly commended – Kiran Johal from Saint George’s Church of England School, Gravesend, Kent
Here’s what Iona had to say: “This writer has really got to grips with the subject and it certainly shows in this strong entry. Perhaps a little more pizzazz wouldn’t go amiss but the writer makes some very compelling points in this well-researched, comprehensive piece.”

Here's what Kiran had to say: “At first I really didn’t think much of it much, then as time was going by miss was saying the competition is going to finish soon so I read the question and thought I can do this so I thought why not give it a go!”

Congratulations to all our winners and those highly commended! The winner of each age category will receive £150 and will have their article published.

 

About our guest judge Iona Bain

Iona founded the Young Money Blog and appears regularly on television and radio to discuss financial issues and how they affect young people.

She is a trained senior broadcast journalist with the BBC, reporting and producing reports for Radio 4 Current Affairs. She will soon be fronting her first video for the BBC Homepage on the top things 18 year olds need to know about money.

She presented her first documentary on Radio 4 recently, all about financial education –– and has been a guest on both Woman’s Hour and Late Night Woman’s Hour this year.

Competition questions by age group

14-15 year olds

  • Do you think primary school-age children should be taught financial education in schools? Explain your reasons.
  • Discuss which is worse and why – borrowing too much or saving too little? 


16-17 year olds

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a ‘cash-less society’ in terms of how we manage our money.
  • Explain how challenger banks (Monzo, Metro Bank, Virgin Money) are changing banking. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for consumers.

18-19 year olds:

  • How will technology impact banking in the future? Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages for consumers.
  • Discuss the ways in which technology will affect careers in banking in the future.

How to make your articles stand out 

Articles which ‘stood out from the crowd’ used some or all of the following tactics and techniques:

  • An engaging and ‘journalistic’ style – short sentences which make clear points.
  • A clear narrative with a logical flow.
  • Case studies or ‘real life’ examples about the financial world.
  • Statistics and evidence from other organisations, demonstrating research skills.
  • Good spelling and grammar.
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Two female school students studying
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