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Rewrite the Headlines: Overall primary school winner!

by on 2016/02/18

Over the last few weeks we have been showcasing the top entries in both the school and undergraduate categories of our Rewrite the Headlines competition (full list of winners here). Today we conclude with the overall winning primary school entry which is from St. Roch’s Primary and Hearing Impaired School, Glasgow.

The children at St. Roch’s Primary changed the headline ‘Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO’, which they had read on BBC News, to ‘Eating processed meat slightly increases risk of cancer’.

Here is the children’s explanation for this change in the headline:

Primary 6 chose to rewrite the headline of this article because we felt that the headline was misleading. The headline claimed that processed meats such as sausages and bacon caused cancer. When we read the article we discovered that eating those types of food did not cause cancer but only increased a person’s chance of getting cancer. The article also said that normally “6 out of every 100 people get bowel cancer at some point in their lives”. After eating bacon every day for the rest of their lives the “the risk would increase to…around 7 in 100 people getting bowel cancer”. This means that it is only one more person which is not a very big risk. Our headline reflects the research because we used the word slightly to show that it is not a big risk.

The judges felt this was the strongest entry because of the children’s explanation of risk. They carefully explained how 6 out of every 100 people get bowel cancer in their lives and the increased risk from eating a lot of processed meats was one extra person per one hundred. This contextualises the specific risk arising from eating a lot of processed meat. We had written about this story on our blog when the story was in the press last October. Well done St. Roch’s Primary for the overall winning entry!


The Rewrite the Headlines competition was supported by funding from the British Academy, with additional funding from the University of Strathclyde. The overall prize was sponsored by the University of Strathclyde.

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Prizes were supported by the British Academy, the University of Strathclyde, the School of Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews, the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Dundee School of Life Sciences, and the Particle Physics Experiment Research Group at the University of Edinburgh, the Social Research Association, the Scottish History Society, and Palgrave Macmillan.

Competition details can be accessed at https://researchtheheadlines.org/rewritetheheadlines, and the full list of winners is available here.

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