It is a pleasure to reintroduce the Youth Media Reporter – the professional, peer-reviewed multi-media journal serving practitioners, educators and scholars in the youth media field. Since the last issue of YMR was published online in February 2011, a few changes have occurred: the journal has a new editor and the website has a new design and format. But YMR’s purpose remains unchanged: to build the youth media field by documenting, from multiple perspectives, the practices, pedagogies and impacts of engaging young people in media making across an array of modes and genres. YMR will continue to publish articles, reports, case studies, interviews and reviews that deepen our understandings of the ways that young people and adult allies create and use media to participate in and shape communities that are more inclusive, more democratic, more just and expressive.
In the last two years, significant shifts have occurred in and around the field of youth media that demand the inquiry and insight YMR has helped provide since 2005. Many stakeholders have worked to ensure the journal’s relaunch. Four leaders in the field were especially instrumental in facilitating YMR’s transition to its new institutional home in the Department of Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College. I inherit my responsibilities as journal editor from the extraordinarily gifted and generous Ingrid Dahl, who shaped and shepherded the journal from 2006-2011. Ingrid continues to help drive the field as Director of Next Gen Programming at Bay Area Video Coalition. Among his many credits in the field, Steve Goodman, Founder / Director of the Educational Video Center, must also be recognized for ensuring YMR’s future. Steve introduced me to Ingrid and the YMR advisory board, and planted the seeds for YMR at Muhlenberg when he spent a week on campus as the inaugural Media Artist in Residence in 2010. Our conversations during his residency inspired the conditions that brought YMR to Muhlenberg.
The process of transitioning and relaunching YMR has also benefitted from support and astute guidance from Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, Program and Communications Director at the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, and Kasandra VerBrugghen, Executive Director of Spy Hop Productions and a founding member of the burgeoning National Youth Media Network. Allies in the effort to advance youth media, they have helped YMR stay connected to the critical conversations, projects, and partners currently shaping the field.
Powering this effort is widespread commitment to strengthening the youth media field by sharing research, best practices, diverse experiences and approaches, reviews of scholarship, new pedagogies, and policies impacting the field. And the Department of Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College is a fitting and exciting space for YMR: it is an environment that values youth media, where students can take courses in youth media and conduct research with faculty in the field. But more than that, the department is home to HYPE, an award-winning youth media program for high school students in Allentown. At HYPE, co-directed by Jenna Azar and myself, undergraduates learn and grow through collaborative documentary productions with local participating youth. HYPE teens offer powerful reminders of the vital work we must do to shape, secure and sustain spaces where young people can tell their stories and amplify their voices. This first issue is dedicated to HYPE—to the teens, college students, and collaborating adults—who demonstrate the value, promise, and urgency of youth media.
At YMR, our objective is to create a forum where youth media researchers, program directors, educators and leaders, community media and media arts activists, and youth media makers are in conversation with each other, the wider field and related endeavors. Your contributions to the conversation are vital and we welcome your ideas about how to make YMR more inclusive, more inviting, and more open.
Lora Taub-Pervizpour, Editor