letter from the editor (volume 1: issue 2)

Welcome to February 2007 (Volume 1: Issue 2)
of Youth Media Reporter (YMR).

A look inside:
Collaboration has the power to link people across difference to work together. Even in our own organizations and media projects, we have opportunities to team up with our colleagues. But collaboration between universities—known to focus within the academic walls of research—and community partners—which deal with running programs and hands on activism—is quite a unique match. What can professionals from the youth media field gain from such a partnering?
This month’s theme focuses broadly on expanding the youth media field by creating new partnerships. The partnerships discussed in this issue have led to college students in field placements conducting program evaluations for non-profits, teaching opportunities at the college level for community partners, innovative implementation of media literacy work, and relationships with mainstream media outlets.
As Kathy O’Bryne, Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the Center for Community Learning explains in her article this month, “It is clear that bridging both the university and non-profit organizations (or professionals) with an alternative approach to collective learning and teaching is key to a future of community engagement, leadership and partnerships.”
In her article, O’Bryne draws attention to one of her courses that engage professionals in the classroom with students. The course offers a unique approach to program evaluation that can be useful to youth media organizations.
Renee Hobbs, Professor of Media Studies at Temple University and Director of Media Education Lab in this month’s interview states, “The youth media field can benefit from networking with students and faculty in colleges and universities who are interested in testing media theories in the ‘real world.’ Youth media professionals ought to reach out to the university more, as faculty members are interested in ways to engage students with practice and alternative, community-based, hands-on learning.”
In her interview, Hobbs makes a point that youth media literacy has not developed equally to that of media production technology – so there is a real need out there for innovative approaches to media literacy. She recommends that youth media professionals work with college students, attend and present at seminars and events on university campuses, and integrate media analysis and media production activities.
Kendra Hurley’s article, “The Youth Media NonProfit as Classroom” is re-launched to coincide with this month’s theme, for further views on professionalizing the youth media field, increasing the number of interested and equipped individuals entering the field, and establishing effective networks.
Katina Paron’s article offers key insights to working with mainstream media outlets. For seven weeks over this past summer, Children’s Press Line (CPL) worked for The Daily News. A teamwork of teens, interns, and practitioners produced articles each week for the Queens and Brooklyn boroughs.
Katina explains, “We were able to share kids’ quality of life problems to a wide audience that needs to know that kids are affected by the decisions that adults make.” For example, the column BackTalk “embodied a guiding principle of CPL – bringing authentic youth voices to adults in power. We do this by using the power of the media to publicly question policy officials on their decisions or their avoidance of an issue that directly affects young people.”
It is our hope that as a youth media professional, you will find the perspectives and learned outcomes in each article refreshing, enlightening, and resourceful. We are interested in hearing your thoughts and comments. Simply comment in the margin bar provided to the right of each article or contact us directly.
Ingrid Hu Dahl
Editor, YMR

Sustaining a community of learners by expanding the youth media field

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