As The Sun launches its second Column Idol competition, Press Gazette has learned that last year’s winner is now working as a features writer for the paper.
Lee Price, 22, scooped last year’s prize with his column on the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Price, who only entered the competition after being ‘pestered’by his mum, was invited back to the paper after his full-page column was published last September.
‘I’ve been really fortunate to keep writing for the paper,’Price said. ‘It was a massive platform for me to break into journalism. Many of my friends from university are in a position where they can’t even get an interview.”
Price entered last year’s competition – run in conjunction with the Media Trust – shortly after graduating from university and landing a job as a sports writer at Exeter-based Shoot! magazine.
As the 2011 competition gets underway, Price said: ‘You have to write about something you’re passionate about.”
Since joining The Sun, Price has written about being behind-the-scenes for Page 3, asked whether Richard Madeley is the new Alan Partridge and discovered what happens if you try drinking eight cans of energy drink.
As well as getting a full-page column published in the paper, Column Idol also offers 18-25 year olds the chance to be mentored by top journalists.
Six shortlisted writers will pitch their columns to a judging panel including The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan and columnist Jane Moore, and the winner will see their column printed in Britain’s best-selling newspaper in September 2011.
Media Trust deputy chief executive Katie Simpson said: ‘This is part of a long term partnership with The Sun and News International. We’re delighted to have some of their most esteemed journalists on board as mentors to give industry insight and expertise to young people who wouldn’t normally have access to it.’
Entrants must write a short description about themselves, what they would like to write about and why they deserve to be crowned Column Idol 2011. The entry form can be found at www.thesun.co.uk/columnidol.
The closing date for entries is 20 June.