Cleland Thom, director of Cleland Thom Journalism Training said: “You’ve got a rich vein of creative talent there – both in writing and generating ideas and putting them across.
“Very occasionally, I come across someone who has the ‘X factor’ regarding journalism.
“I know guys who’ve become editors at 23 and worked on national papers by the time they’re 26. Can be done – and I suspect you’ve got what it takes to join them.
“I’m a bit of a journalistic dinosaur, and get concerned that younger journalists are more bothered with Xboxes and X Factors than X-rated hard news stories. But Samson Dada gives me hope. He’s got a keen awareness of national and international events. He’s able to analyse and interpret information and reach lucid opinions.
“And he’s a good writer … I was going to put ‘for his age’ (he’s 16), but writes better than some senior reporters I’ve trained.We very rarely give scholarships for our gold standard Mentor Scheme. But we had no hesitation in offering Samson a place – he’s our youngest-ever recruit. He ticked all the boxes. And they weren’t Xboxes, either.”
Gerry Sammon, former editor of the North and East Manchester Advertiser and Middleton Guardian said: “Samson came to my notice just over a year ago when he approached me about some written projects he wanted to get involved in. He was eager and bubbling with enthusiasm … and he wasn’t yet 16.
“Since then he has had a very interesting and insightful piece on asylum seekers printed in the North East Manchester Advertiser, with one in the bag and and another in the pipeline. The published piece provoked some reaction from readers, I’m very happy to say, and he was given the title of Youth Community Correspondent. If I were to be asked to give Samson a few words of advice they would be this: Never lose your interest in the world around you. And keep up the good work.
“I would say that if you continue to work in the way you have been doing it will bode well for your future career, if journalism is the direction you are thinking of going in. Your articles will go well in a portfolio which would be necessary when looking for a course to get qualified or looking for a job.”
Guardian’s managing editor Elisabeth Ribbans said: “As managing editor I was impressed with how well you’d prepared for your placement and the way you made the most of your time here. Colleagues who met you all commented on your winning combination of confidence, curiosity and courteousness. Your studied interest in current affairs, your natural inquisitiveness and your desire to discover the human picture behind the facts and figures, are key ingredients for success in journalism.
“Your placement began with two days on general news, under the guidance of reporter Lexi Topping, who found you outgoing, positive and go-getting, “which are really important traits for a journalist.
“She was very impressed that you took the initiative to introduce yourself to the deputy editor and show him your portfolio on your first day, an act of confidence that inspired her admiration! “
Guardian’s head of consumer Jill Insley, who supervised your time on the consumer desk, said: “Samson was a very determined young man. I was impressed with his confidence and just how seriously he took things. He has clearly wanted to become a journalist for a long time and has done a lot of work towards this.”
Becky Gardiner, editor of the Guardian’s comment is free pages said: “It was a pleasure to have you, and the work you did on the spread sheet was more helpful than you can possibly imagine!
“I’m sure you have a great future ahead of you, and wish you the very best of luck.”
Lynne Brannan, Guardian’s senior editorial administrator said: “Thank you very much for your help last week. Do contact Liz (Guardian’s managing editor) again next year as I know that she’s impressed by your commitment and general attitude.”
Linda Steelyard, news editor of Leicester Mercury said: “You have a better writing style than many journalism students who have done work experience at The Leicester Mercury.”
Brett Leppard, politics editor at The Demon magazine said: “Samson has proved to be a very dedicated and diligent writer, doing well to stick to deadlines and write about issues with a twist.”
David Gurney, Metro deputy sports editor said:“I have read through the pieces you sent in and am very impressed. You are certainly showing flair for sports reporting and, if you carry on like this, I am sure you would have a very bright future if you chose to do this for a career.”
C. Hope Clark, editor of FundsforWriters said: “Very impressive, Samson. I read your blog. I love to see a young person with an interest in government affairs. I worked for the federal government in the US for 25 years and admire youth that try to understand it.”
Mary Jo Campbell, blogger of Writers Inspired and board member of Capitol City Young Writers said: “You are an impressive young man with outstanding credentials at such a young age. If only today’s youth had more Samsons as their mentor!
“These are spectacular answers to my interview questions. It looks like we will be using this Q&A in our Young Authors Success Corner in the March 1, 2009 issue of the Capitol City Young Writers Newsletter. I will email you a copy when it is released.
“Your link will be listed with your Q&A and your bio/headshot. You’re going places, my friend!”
Dan Bloom, advocate of the Polar Cities Blueprint climate change project and author of “I’m Just Crazy About Taiwan!” said: “I am convinced you are some kind of genius….. GO GO GO.
“Samson Dada is one young man to watch! His writing is fantastic, and his future is UNlimited. Go, sir, go!”
Blogger Ben Sheffield said: “I absolutely love your style of writing; authoritative, informative but yet accessible. I have also spent the last couple of hours marvelling at your ability to write on such a broad variety of topics.”
Verna Dresibach of Dreisbach Literary Management said: “Thank you very much Samson for contributing your story to Capitol City Young Writers. You will be a true inspiration to other young writers and I appreciate you taking the time to answer so thoroughly and thoughtfully.”
David Kay, East Manchester Media Community Producer said: “Samson Dada, the Youth Community Correspondent for the North East Manchester Advertiser has written a piece about B of the Blog. You can read the full story here: http://www.nemadvertiser.co.uk/news/s/1100693_b_of_the_blog. Thanks again to Samson for the great article.”