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Mirror NextGen edition puts teenagers’ voices at the heart of the coronavirus conversation

Posted on: June 2, 2020 by Mariella Brown

The Daily Mirror has published a special print supplement created by young people to offer perspectives on how the generation has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 20-page supplement, entitled NextGen: Our World Interrupted, was included in today’s Mirror with a cover showing the faces of the young contributors caught up in a galaxy of the crisis.

The NextGen project was launched last year when the paper gave a group of young people the opportunity to edit the Mirror for a day both in print and online.

Pre-lockdown, the Mirror had invited a group of 20 young people to the paper’s offices on March 5 to spend a day with journalists planning a second special print edition for this year.

Plans for the second edition were nearly thwarted by the lockdown, but the paper pushed ahead with the creation of a second special print edition, remotely.

Mirror Editor-in-Chief, Alison Phillips explained in the issue, “Rather than give up on the project we felt there was so much to be written about coronavirus from young people’s perspectives; the experiences of those who’ve helped out voluntarily or as paid carers, those who’ve had exams and college postponed, and those fearful for their job prospects if we are plunged into recession.”

A range of features, interviews and photography spreads were compiled by a selected group of young people from across the country for the coronavirus special, with the editing hand of the Mirror’s head of campaigns and politics, Jason Beattie.

Features include covering the work of 17 and 18-year-old care home workers and student nurses as the paper asks readers to re-imagine the faces and ages of those for whom we clap for carers on Thursday evenings.

The edition also addresses the importance of technology during the crisis, with an interview with Britain’s biggest TikTok star Holly Hubert, aged 23.

The supplement covers topics from broad-ranging exam concerns to the starker end of the crisis in a column by 16-year-old Amarion Scarlett-Reid on how the black, Asian and minority ethnic community has been particularly adversely affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Writing about the creation of the NextGen issue 14-year-old Esther Bird said she was grateful that the Daily Mirror decided it was “the perfect time to hear the perspectives of younger people and explore how the pandemic will affect us.”

“Initiatives such as NextGen give vital visibility to young people from all sorts of backgrounds and help make sure we don’t just hear from the privileged and the wealthy, and we don’t hear London-centric views.”

Mirror Editor-in-Chief Alison Phillips added, “In recent years many have been quick to dismiss today’s young people as a ‘snowflake generation’. But the way in which thousands of youngsters have selflessly stepped up to play their part in supporting others during coronavirus should put paid to that myth for good.”

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