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【Center News】University Sports Newspaper Clubs & Sports Federations:Awards for the PR Intern Project

The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center hosted the "PR Student Intern Contest." PR staff members of sports federations and students that provided the articles and photographs came together for the awards ceremony on March 15.

Attended by 19 sports federations and 123 reporters

The PR intern dispatch project, in which university student reporters support the PR activities of sports federations, launched in May of last year. The aim was to strengthen the foundation for Paralympic sports federations and alleviate the shortage of PR personnel by injecting youthful energy.

Ten university newspaper clubs take part in the project. It started with 12 sports federations and 61 students, but now includes 19 federations and 123 students. The students help with PR activities and also bring a youthful perspective to the reporting of para sports, which has helped to increase fans of younger generations.

Waseda Sports Blind Marathon Team takes first place!

The articles posted on the websites of each sports federation are also shared on the Paralympic Support Center's official Facebook page. This "PR Student Intern Contest" awarded the top three articles with the most "likes" out of the 70 that were posted in fiscal 2016. There was also a special merit award for the team that made an impression with their activities.

At the awards ceremony, Katsuhiro Motoyama, Director of the Paralympic Support Center Project Promotion Department, expressed his gratitude with the words, "The PR interns currently play an important role in reporting information. I look forward to seeing them use their young sensibilities to continue writing articles that elicit empathy from the readers."

Reporter Hirano (left) of first place winner Waseda Sports

Next was the ceremony. First place was the Blind Marathon Team of Waseda Sports. Reporter Koki Hirano made a passionate speech: "Over the past year, through our interactions with the athletes, I have come to see each person as an individual, regardless of the disability. This is why para sports must reach the same level of non-disabled sports, and we must remove the gap in levels of recognition between para and non-para sports. It is our job to do that. I hope to make this fiscal year another great year with all of you."

The article that resulted in their first place award features Rio Paralympian Misato Michishita. It is an interview format, in which Michishita talks of her emotions and excitement of finally being able to attend the Paralympic Games. The athlete's personality permeates throughout the article. The smiling photos, provided by the Japan Blind Marathon Association, also appealed to many readers.

Second place went to Paratriathlon Team of Tsukuba Newspaper/Tsukuba Sports. The article previews the paratriathlon event, which was a new event in the Rio Paralympics, and explained the classification system unique to para sports. Masamitsu Tomikawa of the Japan Triathlon Union attended the ceremony and spoke of his expectations, saying, "The athletes and staff members work with wonderful awareness. Easy-to-understand articles are important, but I hope they will also report on the rigor of these sports as well."
The Visual Impairment Judo Team of Sports Hosei took third place.

Reporting the appeal of these sports from diverse perspectives

The special merit was awarded to the Wheelchair Fencing Team of Keio Sports Press. Hinako Seino said of their activities, "This award is thanks to the association. They introduced us to many events and gave us ideas." The team reported para sports from diverse angles, including interviews with alumni athletes and even reporters.

After the awards ceremony there was a social gathering where members of sports federations shared ideas. Reporters from the Nippon Sport Science University Sports Press, who were to start their activities on this day, also attended. They were inspired by the work of the other teams and gave comments such as, "I hope to learn more about the characteristics of each medium, like Facebook, and be more concise and clear in my writing," and, "When reporting on para sports you must also explain about the sport, and I am finding out that I need to learn more about them."

Because of the Rio Paralympic Games last year, para sports is gaining more interest within Japan, but still very few people go out to watch para sports games. For the success of the 2020 Tokyo Games, we must continue to report para news and increase the number of para sports fans among the younger generation.

Keio Sports Press, a team that collaborated well with sports federations

The Paratriathlon Team obtained many "likes"

text&photo by Parasapo
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