letter from the editor (volume 1:issue 4)

Letter from the Editor
Welcome to April 2007 (Volume 1: Issue 4) of Youth Media Reporter (YMR).
Over the past few weeks, several conferences have occurred that apply to the youth media field. This issue of YMR documents four of these convenings, capturing lessons learned and highlighting key findings useful to professionals in the field.
The articles in this issue cover the following conferences:
• The 5th World Summit on Children in Media (5WSCM), Johannesburg, Africa
• Girls Rock Camp Alliance (GRCA), Portland, Oregon
• The 18th National Service-Learning Conference (NSLP), Albuquerque, New Mexico
• World Young Readers Conference (WYRC), Washington, D.C.
From these articles, it is clear that the youth media field is—as one article title suggests—“bigger than we think.” In Africa, youth are demanding to be involved with mainstream media in every aspect: representation, voice, and technology. Youth at the 5WSCM have captivated a large audience of mainstream media figures. Their message has expressed the incredible importance with which they view youth participation in media. Through media trainings, workshops, and blog vodcasts, youth media professionals from the U.S. and across the globe artfully displayed and shared their expertise. As youth voice is amplified with increasing intensity, mainstream media is bound to change.
The Girls Rock Camp Alliance, comprised of representatives from across the globe who run rock n’ roll camps for girls, recently met to brainstorm ways to organize what has become a grassroots movement of burgeoning non-profits. The Alliance is dedicated to empowering young girls through music-making. It is a great example for youth media professionals to learn from, as many of these campsites across the nation, and now the world, work to maintain a collective mission that unites and supports young women in music.
Witnessed at the National Service-Learning Conference in New Mexico, youth media has begun to make a bridge with the service-learning field. In the article, “The Field is Bigger than we Think,” this bridging has enabled youth to use videography to capture the oral histories of elders and those who work for change in communities across the country; to actively document, raise, and portray issues in their schools and communities; and to meet to share their own cultural and native stories with youth from afar. The combination of media and service-learning engages youth in social justice work, community development, and civic and political activism.
Lastly, the World Young Readers Conference in D.C. gave professionals in the newspaper business ideas on how to incorporate youth voice and leadership into the content and management of their papers. Many young people attending the conference gave compelling testimonials about the importance of youth involvement with news media as spokespeople on youth editorial boards and on other policy setting structures. Newspapers will only benefit from the opinions and priorities of the younger generation. Youth must not be mere subjects covered (oftentimes negatively) by mainstream media but instead be taken seriously as readers and respected for the insightful opinions they offer.
Next month, YMR will feature new innovations of digital communities that use vodcasts, blogs, and/or personal profiles to engage youth with the field. Blogs and organizations such as MyBlock.net, MediaSnackers, Gurl.com, and Feministing.com will be showcased.
If you would like to be published in YMR or request a site visit, please contact me at idahl@aed.org. If you would like to provide feedback about any of the current articles, simply use the comment feature box available on our website.
Ingrid Hu Dahl
Editor, YMR
Report from the field and make a difference!