What’s on Your Bookshelf?


A Political Overview

For a comprehensive overview of the preferred music and culture of many young media makers, Youth Media Reporter contributing writer Ken Ikeda (see “The ‘Rescue’ Dilemma”) recommends Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (St. Martin’s Press).
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop explores the racial and economic divide that fuels hip-hop and, not coincidentally, much of American-made youth media. Though Chang does not speak directly about it, many of his observations on hip-hop (arguably a form of youth media in itself) also hold true for the field’s recent developments—like the melding of art with activism. Readers can ruminate on just how influential hip-hop has been to youth media’s current boom.

Marketing Advice

Open Society Institute media officer Amy Weil recently talked with Youth Media Reporter about leveraging publicity for young people’s work. For more marketing advice catered to nonprofits with an activist bend, Weil recommends SPIN Works!: A Media Guidebook for Communicating Values and Shaping Opinion. Filled with clear directives on how to write a compelling press release, pick a spokesperson, pitch a story to reporters, and create a media plan, SPIN Works! is “the soup to nuts of basic media do’s and don’ts,” says Weil, adding, “it’s a very easy read, easy to understand.”

Teaching Inspiration

Youth Communication editor Nora McCarthy recently wrote about her work guiding teens in foster care through the writing process. When she herself needs teaching inspiration, McCarthy turns to Mike Rose’s Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America’s Educationally Underprepared (Penguin Books). The book tells how “one intense teacher’s believing in Rose turns him from a disaffected, uninterested teenager into a curious college student, and ultimately a passionate teacher,” says McCarthy. Most of Lives on the Boundary examines how Rose learned to reach out to other young people unaware of their ability to learn. “And he’s not grandiose about it,” says McCarthy, with admiration. “He’s just so tender about his students. It validated my belief that to be successful at this work you need to treat every student as a puzzle that if you work hard enough you can understand. Besides that there’s no one way to treat your students, except with a certain fierceness that you and they can do something great together because you trust them.”

Recommended reading from media makers recently featured in Youth Media Reporter