Media That Matters 11 | Call-for-Entries

Opens March 1, 2011
In 2011, Media That Matters moves to the Fall!
Submit your film for the chance to work with us in empowering communities working for social change. Let your film be the tool that affects hearts and minds, and supports collective struggle for a more just world.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, including educators, activists and nonprofits, will watch and use your film through an international, multi-platform campaign streaming and playing to audiences everywhere. Media That Matters — the premier showcase for short films with big messages — is your conduit. Join us in our ELEVENTH year and submit your film now!
Short Films: 10-minutes is the MAX; under 8-minutes is ideal.
Social Issues: Any and all issues will be considered. This year we are particularly interested in films focusing on Disability Rights, Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Tolerance, Bias-based Bullying, Gender/Women and Youth Activism.
All Genres: Documentary, narrative, animation, music video, drama, comedy, public service announcement. Hybrid, or a new genre altogether? Absolutely, creativity is encouraged — but your film must focus on a social issue.
All ages: Youth-produced projects encouraged!
MUST be cleared for NONEXCLUSIVE home video, educational, online, broadcast and theatrical distribution.
Deadline: May 1, 2011
Check website for more details and to apply online:
 Please email Lauren Domino:
Media That Matters is the premiere showcase for short films on the most important topics of the day. Local and global, online and in communities around the world, Media That Matters engages diverse audiences year-round and inspires them to take action.
Arts Engine, Inc. supports, produces, and distributes independent media of consequence and promotes the use of independent media by advocates, educators and the general public.

The Smithsonian Latino Center’s 2011 Young Ambassadors Program – Summer Leadership Development Program

The Smithsonian Latino Center is pleased to announce the open application season for the 2011 Young Ambassadors Program. The Young Ambassadors Program is a national, interdisciplinary leadership development program for high school seniors. The mission of the program is to foster the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities via the Smithsonian Institution and its resources. This program is made possible through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.
Students with an interest in and commitment to the arts, sciences, and humanities as it pertains to Latino communities and cultures are selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for a week-long, leadership development seminar at the Smithsonian Institution. The seminar encourages youth to explore and understand Latino identity and embrace their own cultural heritage through visits to the Smithsonian’s Latino collections and one-on-one interaction with anthropologists, artists, curators, historians, scientists and other museum professionals. Following the training seminar, students participate in a four-week interdisciplinary education internship in museums and other cultural institutions in their local communities, including Smithsonian-affiliated organizations.
Participation in the Young Ambassadors Program is underwritten by Ford Motor Company Fund and includes meals and accommodations for the duration of the one-week training seminar, round-trip travel costs to Washington, D.C., and a program stipend. Students selected are responsible for all expenses during the four-week internship, including transportation, accommodations, and meals.
Upon completion of the 5-week program, participants will receive a $2,000 program stipend towards their higher education. Students that do not complete the seminar and four-week internship will not receive the program stipend.
The deadline to apply is April 8, 2011. For further information and application guidelines and to apply, please visit or contact Emily Key, Education Programs Manager, at 202.633.1268 or by email at

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor | Youth Media Reporter (Volume 4: Issue 5)

Welcome to YMR’s fifth issue of Volume 4 with a focus on “Investing in Youth Media.” As many of our readers know, YMR has been documenting the best practices and high points of the youth media field for over four years.
During this time, we have found that the most common challenge facing youth media programs in the U.S. today is identifying foundations to sustain investments of youth media programs. This sentiment has been echoed in national youth media surveys (see Kathleen Tyner/NAMAC), key reports, several articles published in YMR, in conversations at the 2009 Youth Media Summit (hosted by The McCormick Foundation and AED/YMR), as well as the “State of the Youth Media Field” white paper. (See also “Ten Nonprofit Funding Models,” Stanford Social Innovation review, Spring 2009).
With this in mind, in 2009 YMR staff reached out to approximately 40 funders to get a sense of the value they place on youth media. YMR asked funders to speak specifically to the six priority issue areas identified by key stakeholders in the field: Youth and Adult Leadership, Developing Strategic Partners, Research and Evaluation, Distribution, Curriculum, and Professional Development and Networks. At the time, with support from the McCormick Foundation, YMR staff were developing a Youth Media Investment Prospectus—a project that was later halted in response to the economic downturn and consequent shifts in foundation priorities.
For this issue of YMR, we re-approached funders to contribute a special issue that provides readers with a range of perspectives and insights in the youth media field, including: funders (The Stuart Foundation and The Stone Foundation); intermediaries (GFEM and NAMAC); and practitioners (Wide Angle Youth Media). Many thanks to our eight contributors:
Clark Bell, Mark Hallett and Janet Liao, The McCormick Foundation
Lin Ishihara, The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Susan Hayman Malone, Wide Angle Youth Media
Alyce Myatt, Grantmakers for Film and Electronic Media
Rhonnel Sotelo, The Stuart Foundation
Jack Walsh, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture
This issue’s return to the issue of youth media funding and sustainability reflects the increasing relevance of youth media practice in education and youth development. Without a doubt, youth media practice resonates with a variety of funding organizations.
Many funders agree that youth media programs are valuable because they engage youth as actors and creators, encourage youth interaction with their communities, engender a sense of social responsibility among youth, provide hard and soft skills that scaffold success in school, the work place, and in life, and contribute to a future heavily reliant upon media skills and social innovation. As Frank Baiocchi from the Polk Brothers (Chicago, IL) explains, “Media is a vehicle for young people to find their place within their community and get a better sense of their world. Through youth media, youth voices are heard on a variety of issues—including health, gender, LGBT, immigration—in order to debunk myths and fill in the gaps.”
Moreover, young people today require multiple forms of literacy—including media and visual literacy. Integrating youth media literacy in youth programs across issue areas would greatly change the social climate that young people operate within. As Alyce Myatt explains, we are in a “state of emergency.” Though these times produce rich soil for innovation, investments in youth media—despite its acute success in youth development and youth engagement—have suffered.
My personal suggestion to practitioners and investment stakeholders in the field is to visibility communicate on a broad scale the power of youth media as a strategic tool that unites and leverages multiple—if not all—issue areas. Youth media can make a major contribution to areas of health, education, environment, the economy, poverty/incarceration and inequity, and workforce readiness, to name a few. Funders who are serious about these issues must consistently make long-term investments in youth media rather than falling privy to funding “the next big thing,” an all too often short term gratification.
Youth media is a critical mechanism for defining culture, identity and representation in the 21st century. Foundations, schools, business and the Government can make a major difference in the future by focusing on scaling youth media for the long term. It is my hope that this issue of YMR informs and ignites a dialogue to propel the youth media movement forward, as amplified as our collective intended aim for youth voice.
We look forward to your comments regarding this issue. Our next and final issue in 2010 will focus on the successes of youth media alums and how youth media kick started their own movements.
Ingrid Hu Dahl
Editor-in-Chief, Youth Media Reporter
Youth Media Reporter is managed by the Academy for Educational Development

This issue of Youth Media Reporter is supported by:

Interview: Lin Ishihara, The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation

About The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation concentrates its grantmaking in three program areas: early childhood development, education and youth development. It has an asset base of approximately $100 million and distributes $3.7 million in grants each year in Chicago, Boston, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Foundation continues Mr. W. Clement Stone’s vision to change the world and make it a better place for this and future generations.
About Lin Ishihara
Lin Ishihara has been the Senior Program Officer at the Stone Foundation for four years. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lin worked in school settings and held leadership positions at several youth-focused organizations, including the Richmond District Neighborhood Center and San Francisco School Volunteers. She has served on numerous Boards and Advisory Councils including San Francisco Afterschool for All, Japanese Community Youth Council, San Francisco Beacon Initiative, and Northern California Grantmakers Family Philanthropy Exchange.
YMR: What has your experience been at The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation with investing in youth media/youth development programs?
Lin Ishihara: Youth voice and broader social impact are the twin pillars of our youth development grantmaking. With this frame, we fund a number of youth organizing, youth-led social change and youth media programs. Stone is a small foundation; grants to fund direct services for youth would not go far. Youth media programs are a strategic investment because they build youth skills and have a larger impact.
Grantees like Youth Communication, Educational Video Center and Youth Radio exemplify how to work with youth to develop deeply resonant stories that influence public perspectives and policy maker decisions about issues important to young people. The Foundation also supports programs that build capacity within the field. Youth development organizations are mostly small, independent entities with thin infrastructure and small budgets; the work of groups like Community Network for Youth Development—which strengthens capacity around effective staff practices and program quality—is vital.
YMR: From your point of view, what does the funding landscape look like? What are investors interested in and what overall trends do you see?
Ishihara: There are two big issues. First, the funding pot has not grown since the shrinkage of 2008 and 2009. Many funders (Stone included) are making smaller grants and many are not considering new grantees. Every nonprofit requires a few new funders each year just to stay afloat. For most foundations, the overall budget picture for 2011 is not yet clear. It is likely to continue to be a precarious time for grant seekers.
Second, in this time of scarce resources, organizations must be able to show and convincingly talk about results. Youth media and youth development organizations are doing a better job of collecting data on the impact of their programs; for example, increased engagement, technical skills development, and improved communication skills.

There is growing pressure for all groups working with youth to demonstrate impact on student achievement. Despite this pressure, youth media and youth development organizations need to be careful not to get sucked into claiming academic outcomes if they are not providing services that directly address academics.

YMR: From your point of view, why aren’t funders interested in investing dollars in youth media?
Ishihara: There is a continuing mis-perception that youth media is simply putting a camera or microphone in young people’s hands and sending them off to capture a story. It may seem loose rather than rigorous. Funders may not understand the high level of skill building involved in youth media—technical, critical literacy, research and analysis. There is also a need for more funder education about youth media’s multiplier effect—that the impact of a youth’s work ripples out to peers, educators, parents and community.
YMR: Can you share some highlights from your 2006 meeting of Youth Development grantees that resulted in the report: Learning From The Field?
Ishihara: We believe it is important to listen to our grantees, to learn from their experiences so we are smarter about how to better support their work in ways beyond the grant. In 2006, we gathered our youth development grantees from across the country for a one-day session in San Francisco. Grantees talked about what they were struggling with, what they were learning, and what was next on their agenda. It was a terrific gathering of leaders doing exceptional work with young people.
The need for more support around capacity building was unquestionably the big issue of the day. Grantees said they wanted help with planning, marketing and infrastructure needs that never get funded. We also noted a real hunger for more opportunities to connect with and learn from peers.
As a result of the convening—and our trustees’ responsiveness to what grantees said they needed—in two short months we launched a new grants program, which we implemented for two years. Grantees could apply for up to $20K for capacity building—a small amount that made a big difference. These grants supported strategic planning, website development, fundraising, and documentation of curriculum that was largely on scraps of flip chart paper.
In 2009, we had to put these capacity building grants on pause because of the decrease in our budget and the decision to focus on general operating and program grants. We hope to re-start these grants when more funding is available.
YMR: What recommendations do you have for practitioners in the field who seek new investors and new stakeholders, outside those that already support youth development/youth media?
Ishihara: First, ask your current funders to open doors to other funders. Your current funders know your work and believe in it. They are terrific credibility builders with peers in philanthropy. Be specific about the kind of assistance you want; for example, you might ask: “Would you be wiling to email XYZ Foundation and introduce our organization?” Or, “Would you look over our prospectus and advise us how to strengthen it for a foundation audience?”
Second, look at funders that are supporting similar organizations. This provides a more concrete window into grantmaker priorities. Grant funding is about the intersection between the priorities of the funder and goals and activities of the grantseeker. If your program and the foundation priorities are not a close fit, I do not recommend wasting time on a proposal.
Third, there are few foundations that have youth media as an explicit funding category. Therefore, you need to widen the lens of your funder research to funders that support youth leadership, youth development, civic engagement, and the arts—areas that intersect with youth media.
Fourth, it is odd to say this to youth media organizations, but be ready to tell your story—your strategy, implementation and results—in a clear, compelling and concise manner. Attention is fleeting so you need to communicate with confidence, passion and command the facts. It is a plus if you can talk about what you are learning, revealing the questions you are asking, your level of analysis and how you are making adjustments to the program.

Interview: Susan Hayman Malone, Wide Angle Youth Media

About Wide Angle Youth Media
Wide Angle Youth Media is a nonprofit that provides Baltimore youth with media education to tell their own stories and become engaged in their communities. Through after school programs, community events, an annual Youth Media Festival, and youth-run television show, Wide Angle strives to make media make a difference. In 2009-2010 Wide Angle trained more than 500 youth in critical thinking, public speaking, and media production, sharing their stories and messages with more than 20,000 people in the Baltimore Metro area. Wide Angle works with youth ages 11-15 through their Baltimore Speaks Out! Program and youth ages 15-20 through their Mentoring Video Project and Youth Festival Committee Programs.
About Susan Hayman Malone
Susan is the executive director of Wide Angle Youth Media. Embarking on the agency’s second decade of groundbreaking youth media programming in Baltimore with a re-invigorated focus on youth voice, Malone intends to build new avenues for Wide Angle’s program and media distribution to regional and national audiences. Susan has been with Wide Angle since 2003; first, as the program manager, where she developed effective youth programming, assembled new financial funding networks, and managed the dynamic day-to-day activities of the growing organization. Malone graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in photography and has been working in the Baltimore art community for the past 13 years. Susan’s experience includes a mix of both private and public creative experience at organizations such as Mission Media, Photoworks, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
YMR: What new innovations has Wide Angle begun to increase investment in programs?
Susan Hayman Malone: Fee-for-service programming now accounts for 30% of our budget and 50% of those dollars support our core programs. Donor and corporate relationships are very important to us, and we work directly with individuals to invite them into our organization, to build a network of relationships between their friends, families, Wide Angle staff, and one another.
Building ongoing strong partnerships with public, private and other community stakeholders has also been instrumental to our program support. Over the year, we have built strong ties to our local government agencies including the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, and Baltimore City Public Schools. Thanks to these unique relationships we are able to leverage dollars and program exposure to larger audiences.
YMR: What current, unique funding streams does Wide Angle have?
Malone: We have an individual donor that has been supporting Wide Angle Youth Media’s Mentoring Video Project (MVP), an advanced media production internship and youth development program for Baltimore City youth that takes place over the course of an academic year with off-site video production and field trips taking place throughout the city.
This particular donor has been an advocate and supporter of media reform. We first met with the donor at a round table to review opportunities for media distribution in Baltimore, which was funded in part by the Betty Lee & Dudley P. Diggs Memorial Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation. Afterwards, we continued animated conversations about the role of media in the lives of young people, and brought the donor into our family to experience our work first hand. Since attending our screenings, visiting the workshops, speaking with our youth, this passionate donor made a five-year commitment to support a specific program MVP. As most organizations experience, multi-year funding is rare these days. Thanks to this type of support we were able to leverage funds from additional sources, providing a system for ongoing programmatic support.
YMR: What has your experience been in fund development for Wide Angle in the last year? What trends are you seeing?
Malone: We are seeing a trend where foundations are supporting nonprofits who engage in social enterprise efforts to bring dollars into the agency. To align our mission with this trend we have partnered with the school system to provide additional in-school and out-of- school programming as a fee–based program that we facilitate.
City funding for after-school programming is being reframed into out-of-school time, thus encouraging nonprofits to develop year-round programming to include summer opportunities and jobs for youth. This means that nonprofits must offer additional programming to maintain city-funding sources.
Lastly, we are seeing a slow movement where city agencies or foundations are supporting organizations that provide workforce development opportunities for young people, especially those who are associated with the Department of Juvenile Justice or in foster care services.
YMR: How might you convey to new funders that investing in youth media is a major return in investment?
Malone: As a youth media organization we are inherently enthusiastic about our work, but my job is to channel that passion into tangible opportunities for our donor(s) to connect with the young people we serve. By cultivating long-term relationships with funders they meet and discover the unique individuals you serve and together you will build a network of. The multi-year commitment is not for everyone, this type of relationship takes time, energy and commitment from both parties. But if you build this type of relationship you, the donor, and the youth, will experience a different type of philanthropy, a real return on everyone’s investment. In the end, the funder will see programs strengthen, they will witness stories that change communities, and they will observe students achieve life long success.
The key to youth media investment is the word “long-term.” For example, at Wide Angle young people join our Baltimore Speaks Out! Program at 11 years of age, and many stay with us through high school and beyond. When funders make multi-year commitments, they are able to witness individual growth, and see the impact their funding has on each unique participant.
The students in programs like ours do not just gain technical media skills. They grow into interesting, expressive and successful young people who emerge from the shadows of shyness and walk out onto a stage, confident in front of audiences in everyday life. They build workforce skills to prepare them for jobs and college; and, they grow into creative thinkers, encouraging their friends to contribute to raising youth voice in Baltimore. Such outcomes come from the overall health and wellbeing of our organization, the youth we serve, and from caring funders who make long-term commitments.
YMR: How do you pitch Wide Angle to a variety of different and new funders?
Malone: Understanding the priorities and goals of any new potential funding source is the most important first step, before determining if an income stream is right for you and your programming.

Maintaining diverse funding streams involves staying focused on our mission while exploring how new funding opportunities can support our overall goals and successfully build a sustainable funding base.

At Wide Angle Youth Media, first, we research development options to make sure a foundations’ goals align with our mission. Then, we build our case around the language in their focus/strategic area. For example, many funders in Baltimore prefer to focus on youth development or leadership skill building—key elements to our work.
Academic perspectives from our University partners are helpful when we prepare grant proposals for Humanities Based Funding, and business insights from local business leaders are helpful when pursuing corporation sponsorships or foundation support from a business. The ebb and flow of language is quite different if a donor prefers amplifying youth voice or advocating for a specific movement.
YMR: What are some next steps for Wide Angle?
Malone: As we embark on the next decade of youth media programming in Baltimore we will continue to focus on amplifying youth voice locally and nationally. We will accomplish this by building integrated youth media curricula for in and out of school time programs, and supporting young people as they build workforce skills so they can discover life long success.
Our charge is to find sustainable sources of income, develop business models for the social entrepreneurial work we offer, while staying true to our mission. Our biggest challenge is to grow and build a budget that both supports our staff in a comprehensive way so that our team can focus on the programs they operate, and, find equipment and software dollars to continue to bring new technologies to all the youth we serve.

Interview: Alyce Myatt, GFEM

About Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM)
GFEM is an association of grantmakers committed to advancing the field of media arts and public interest media funding. GFEM serves as a resource for grantmakers who fund media content, infrastructure, and policy, those who employ media to further their program goals as well as a collaborative network for funders who wish to learn more about media.
GFEM seeks to increase the amount and effectiveness of media funding by foundations and other funders and the use of media in grantmakers’ and grantees’ work. GFEM intends to raise the broader foundation community’s understanding of current media policy and trends, affecting funders’ work in the larger grantmaking community. Recently, GFEM created a database where youth media grantseekers can upload their projects and where funders interested in supporting projects can find initiatives to meet their funding criteria. Check out:
GFEM’s aim is to deepen the field of media funding by providing programs and services for colleague grantmakers. GFEM facilitates collaboration and idea sharing among media grantmakers and leaders in the field and works to increase the amount and quality of data available on trends in media funding. For more see: and
About Alyce Myatt
Alyce Myatt has served as executive director of GFEM since 2006. Prior to GFEM, she was a multimedia consultant providing analysis and strategic planning services for independent media organizations and the philanthropic community. In that capacity she has had a client base that included the Council on Foundations, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), the Women Donors Network, the Center for Digital Democracy, Free Speech TV, MediaWorks, OneWorld TV, Emerson College, TVE Brasil, the Heinz Endowments, and the Annie E. Casey and Skillman Foundations. Prior to her return to consulting, she was Vice President of Programming for the Public Broadcasting Service overseeing independent film, PBS Kids, and the Ready To Learn initiative. Alyce has been a program officer for media at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and president of her own consulting firm that provided program development services, strategic planning, and brand management to a variety of clients in television, radio, and for the Internet. Her production credits include the Smithsonian Institution, Nickelodeon, and the ABC News magazine “20/20.”
YMR: What is the Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media’s vantage point on the current funding landscape?
Alyce Myatt: We live in a media saturated environment. Media has the ability to influence. At GFEM, we believe that the philanthropic sector has a role to play in policy making. Because media is not being perceived by most of the sector as a primary issue of concern it is often not funded to the degree of other issue areas like health and human services and education. However, Funders can be more effective in solving the issues they prioritize by supporting and using media as a key strategy.
YMR: From your point of view, what does the funding landscape look like? What are investors interested in and what overall trends do you see?
Myatt: Recently, GFEM did a presentation with Joi Ito, head of Creative Commons, asking where he thought the most strategic areas to invest were. He said he thought there should be greater investment in young people, particularly in areas of conflict as an activity to move them away from more dangerous activities. Technology can be used for good or ill. If foundations more actively engaged youth in conflict areas (domestic or international) they would have an opportunity to spark innovation in young people.
For example, Ushahidi, a crowdsourcing web site that identified locations of conflict in Kenya, connected concerned individuals around the world. Within three years, the application has expanded and evolved to identify not only places of conflict, but where food, water and medical supplies were located during the Haiti devastation, areas where the oil spill was washing up on shore in the Gulf, and many other examples across Europe and Africa. This project/application began as a volunteer effort and is now supported by funders and governments investments.
The political climate, coupled with innovations in the media sector, has increased funders’ awareness of media; as a result, they are actively learning how to use and support it. Media runs the gamut—it includes everything from social issue documentaries and narrative films, to investing in new media/social media tools (such as applications for mobile phones).
YMR: Why or why aren’t funders interested in investing dollars in media?
Myatt: Some of the reasons that I hear from funders who are not funding media are primarily based on myths and assumptions—for example, it costs too much money to fund (“hundreds of thousands of dollars”), which is not true. Small investments are equally important. We recently spoke to a documentary filmmaker and her first investment was $500. That was enough to get her started.
It is important to note that even though anyone can go out to a BestBuy, purchase a Flip video camera and install Final Cut Pro on a laptop—that is not what we are talking about. Not everyone can tell a well-crafted story.

Media making is littered with failure. But to support those who are making an important, well-crafted story—one that can make significant change—is a critical opportunity for investors.

Funders cannot simply leave media to “other” funders to support, just because your area of focus is poverty or health. Media is a component that greatly adds to and advances the solutions to all issue areas.
Media is also extremely important when we try to address issues of marginalized communities such as women and communities of color. Workforce, pay and health disparities are just some issues that place these communities at a disadvantage.
Because of its power, the absence of women and people of color in the media is actually perpetuating stereotypes. Similarly, smart and engaged youth are absent in the media, which increases the social assumption that youth do not care or, even worse, that they are a threat. Commercial media picks up on these stereotypes, which permeate and causes tremendous damage. Gangsters, bitches and hos—these stereotypical and constructed images in the mainstream are frightening. Consequently, because of their perceived threatening power, they encourage disaffected youth to aspire to these archetypes.
YMR: What does the funding landscape look like, specific to Youth Media?
Myatt: A single major investor in the field—as we have had in the past—does not exist now. When I was a program officer at MacArthur back in 1999, we had a specific youth media initiative through our community-based media arts center. When MacArthur phased-out funding in this area, Open Society Institute picked up the mantel until 2005/2006.
Now, family foundations are supporting youth media in their localities. The NEA and local governments do what they can to support youth media. Many youth media organizations are partnering with one another for group funding. Collaborative efforts such as these are extremely useful while allowing each organization to maintain its’ individuality.
YMR: What are some key takeaways in the recent GFEM report “Funding Media, Strengthening Democracy: Grantmaking for the 21st Century”?
Myatt: We can make a substantive impact in the sector if we address three issues.
First, there is no way to calculate how many philanthropic dollars are going into media (or anything else, for that matter). All information needs to be readable by machines. Therefore, grants and grant reports should be in an open system and calculated in real time. We need to know how much money is going into media and how much is going into youth media in order to effectively identify gaps, overlaps and new opportunities.
Second, regardless of what one is funding, eventually, media is always involved. Media is a strategy and an important tool for all strategies and critical issue areas.
Third, grant making must become more collaborative. If we are serious about significant social change, we must be open and transparent within the sector and not take a propriety stand when funding a particular area.
Referring to Patricia Zimmermann’s book entitled States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies, multiple sectors are currently in states of emergency; in fact, extreme states of emergency. In terms of media, philanthropy should be ahead of the curve. Too often I hear funders talking about incorporating the uses of Twitter and Facebook when instead, they need to be involved in the next iteration of social networking tools. In this regard, Philanthropy is moving too slow.
YMR: What recommendations do you have for practitioners/educators in the field who seek investors?
Myatt: While it might be obvious to talk with funders who already support media, I would also recommend meeting with funders interested in supporting education, workforce development, community development, and other areas that an effective youth media program could strengthen.
The role that youth media can play in the overall education of a young person is key. Basic literacy skills—in addition to media and visual literacy—can be an assumption of youth media if it is structured well. All of our concerns about the education of youth can be addressed through a comprehensive, well-crafted youth media program that develops cognitive and socio-emotional skill sets.
Further, media skills are 21st century skills and require a proficiency in audio and video content for multiple-media platforms. Every company, agency, service organization—even shops, stores, and restaurants—typically have web sites that require content design and consistent maintenance. Media/communications is at the heart of the 21st century industry.
Media is so pervasive and kids are so well versed in media (mobile applications, social media, etc). It is the adults who are behind the curve. Adults need to better understand how to develop media applications that enhance the skill development of young people. Youth media is an important model that starts where young people are (rather than where they are not comfortable) where they can engage with tools that are important to their future and that of the next generation.

Interview: Rhonnel Sotelo, The Stuart Foundation

About The Stuart Foundation
The Stuart Foundation, located in San Francisco, Calif., is dedicated to the protection, education and development of children and youth and works to ensure that all children grow up in caring families, learn in vibrant and effective schools, and have opportunities to become productive members of their communities. The foundation focuses its investments in California and Washington.
The Foundation partners with selected organizations that:
• develop and disseminate innovative programs and practices
• contribute to effective public policy to improve conditions for children and youth
• support and develop the potential of young people
In turn, the Stuart Foundation dedicates time, money, expertise and advocacy to each partnership. Many of their partnerships are long-term, and some have spanned over a decade of successful collaboration.
About Rhonnel Sotelo
Rhonnel Sotelo oversees implementation of grantmaking strategy, directs the management of the foundation’s grants, and oversees all of the Foundation’s daily operations. Rhonnel also continues to direct the foundation’s initiatives for community schools and youth development.
Prior to joining the Stuart Foundation, his nearly two decades of experience included directing The San Francisco Foundation’s West Oakland Initiative and Multicultural Fellowship Program, and owning and operating Urban Works in Seattle. Trained as an urban planner, Rhonnel focused the firm’s community planning and design work to assist neighborhoods, nonprofits, and small towns on livable communities in the Pacific Northwest and California.
Rhonnel holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in English, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of The San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Committee for Civic Unity, sits on the Advisory Board of the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Youth Truth Project, and has served on several committees and task forces for the National Coalition for Community Schools. He lives in Oakland, Calif. with his wife, Chris, and their two daughters, Quin and Kate.
YMR: What has your experience been at The Stuart Foundation with investing in youth media / youth development programs?
Rhonnel Sotelo: It has been powerful and extremely influential in how we have shaped the Foundation’s overall strategy. Our board and staff have had the distinct honor of experiencing firsthand the transformative power of experiential and project-based learning, which has been most exemplified by our work in youth media.
In many ways, it has taught us the importance of having the principles of youth development present in lives of children and youth in their classrooms, home life, and communities. When you look at our schools and neighborhoods throughout the country, it is very clear that the engagement of young people precedes any conversation we have about their achievement. Youth development has a role to play in public education, neighborhood revitalization, and community health. These 21 “Promise Neighborhoods” that just received grants from the United States Department of Education need to make it a central piece of their planning efforts.
YMR: From your point of view, what does the funding landscape look like? What are investors interested in and what overall trends do you see?
Sotelo: For the better part of this decade, the Stuart Foundation has provided a great deal of support for the field of youth development. Since 2003, the Foundation has made more than 180 grants totaling nearly $15 million in support of youth media, college success, and experiential-learning opportunities.
Since the adoption of our strategic plan in2008, the Foundation has gradually decreased its funding to a select few organizations in youth development. We continue to fund in the field because we believe it has a great deal of knowledge to impart on our nation’s public education systems.
Youth development funders are changing course and now funding public education—a recent pendulum shift by the greater funding community.
YMR: From your point of view, why or why aren’t funders interested in investing dollars in youth media?
Sotelo: Results—that goes both ways. The most ardent youth development funders know and value the impact of youth-media programs—strong, caring relationship with adults and peers, pathways to career and life success, power of youth voice, more positive social norms, and meeting high expectations. They are comfortable with the type of impact youth media programs create and celebrate them.
Those who are more skeptical require more outcomes. They need to understand the contribution, or more unrealistically the attribution, of program service delivery on the youth they serve. Some might want results to impact education or community development that likely are one or two degrees of separation from program purposes. The youth-media field, as a whole, needs to strategically communicate its value and power on meeting the needs of young people.

FACT: Youth media has important institutional knowledge that has implications for other fields.
ACTION: Partner to share knowledge. Public education is one area that could benefit youth media partnerships.
FACT: Youth media has value and power to meet the needs of young people.
ACTION: Communicate this widely as a field and individually.
FACT: Youth media organizations tend to be self-centered.
ACTION: Encourage funders to support conventions, capacity building, networking, and research for the field as well as communicate the value of youth media with other grantmakers.

YMR: What recommendations do you have for practitioners/educators in the field who seek new investors and new stakeholders, outside those that already support youth development/youth media?
Sotelo: Owning your outcomes and results are key. This comes in multiple forms. It could be through rigorous program evaluation. It could be through quality strategic communications. It could be through strong articulation of mission, vision, and values by an organization’s board, staff, and students.
Continuing to seek partnerships, collaborations, and influence in other fields such as public education, health, foster care, and community development are also critical for youth development and youth-media organizations. The opportunity is there today to make in-roads through efforts such as community schools, choice neighborhoods, and promise neighborhood efforts.
For example, the Youth Speak! Collective, a digital media arts and multidiscipline youth development organization in Los Angeles, is a key organization in a community schools collaborative in the City’s Pacoima neighborhood. Youth Speak! Collective not only provides outstanding services to the most disengaged youth, its Executive Director plays a central role in the leadership of the collaborative.
Similarly, Reel Grrls in Seattle has done an amazing job of building and growing their organization by partnering with other nonprofits, local schools, and county agencies. Through these partnerships, they are able to provide real-world experiences and client projects for their students.
One final word of advice—utilize your existing funders for field-focused support beyond grant. Some of the ways funders can support these efforts are sponsoring convenings, research, and/or making introduction to other funders

Book Review: Drop That Knowledge

Youth media has been transforming the lives of young people for decades. Like an oasis among the often-oppressive urban, rural and suburban American landscapes, where privilege and power often go unquestioned and unchallenged, at youth media programs teens experience voice, value, visibility, peer and adult collaboration, integration with the local community (and on-line communities), and recognition in creating collaborative, thoughtful media (video, radio, web, print, photography to name a few).
Youth media is not just about handing young people cameras and having them post videos onto YouTube nor is it simply about getting on the airwaves to do a “youth” feature. Youth media is a strategy that uses media technology to amplify the critical analysis, expression and voice of young people. The relationship between adults and youth at these organizations model what it means to be a responsible and proactive citizen in contemporary society. In these small environments, young people are encouraged to work across difference and understand both the power of one’s ability to create while building a solid foundation and deep analysis of the media, power, and the dynamics of race, class and sex in society.
Whenever I have visited a youth media organization—there are approximately over one hundred throughout the U.S.—I always wonder what my life would have been like had I the youth media experience as a teenager. As an educator, I intend to replicate some of the core principles and methodologies I have gleaned from working in the field. But how can the world of educators who have not had the pleasure to work in the field—or who do not even know of its existence—become informed?
The recently published book Drop That Knowledge: Youth radio stories helps educators, grassroots organizers, academics and the general public learn from the insights and lessons learned by a pillar organization in the youth media field—Youth Radio in Oakland, CA.
I had the pleasure of visiting Youth Radio twice. The first time, when construction of their new head quarters was almost complete and Nishat Kurwa was kind enough to give me a tour of what has become a haven for youth in Oakland. The second was in the past year, where I experienced the thriving world of the organization’s teen radio producers and adult allies in action.
The co-authors of Drop That Knowledge, Vivian Chavez and Elisabeth Soep, are seasoned youth media educators and academics. Vivian Chavez, is featured as one of four personal stories captured in “Alumni Lives”—the final chapter in the book—which gives the reader a clear sense of youth today and how youth media responds to their needs and concerns. She explains:

Being defiant was a necessary device, an antidote to guard against the adults in charge of my education and sometimes obstacles to it… I needed an outlet. Through youth media training, I gained effective communication skills… to unlearn ideas that did not serve me… Common among alums were a desire to be heard, for community, interdependence, connection… something to belong to,…add meaning to our lives and transcend individual differences (p. 141).

Chavez is now an Associate Professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University.
Soep’s role throughout the book is clear. Her work guiding students to unbury the “lede”, interview participants and edit their pieces starts with an important questions to examine and stretch perspective: “How do you know? How do you know what you know?” Soep’s honest examination of her own role as an adult—when to step in and when to step out—helps the reader navigate and think about important parameters of space and dialogue that working with youth requires.
Lissa Soep joined Youth Radio as a PhD student conducting research at Stanford and has been working at Youth Radio ever since, teaching at Berkeley as well as San Francisco State. She is currently the Research Director and Senior Producer at Youth Radio. Both Soep & Chavez have multiple books and articles published under their belts.
Together, Soep & Chavez give the reader access to multiple case studies in their experience at Youth Radio, which is community-supported, has roots in public media, and offers training in radio, music, and video—and even provides a health component including food, martial arts, and yoga. The mandate of Youth Radio is described in an epilogue written by Youth Radio’s founder, Ellin O’Leary: “to prepare young people to maintain and reinvent journalism’s best principles, so they can deploy today’s new tools and platforms to speak truth to power, to cultivate credible sources, to tell the story no one else is telling, and to create art and report on emerging trends and cultures.” O’Leary asserts: “I believe that young people trained in youth media will continue to bring about change—by revealing both the connections and the gaps between what happens in Oakland and what happens in Washington, and places in between and beyond (p. 177).”
Drop That Knowledge adds to the growing body of research in youth media. The book begins with introducing key theoretical terms such as converged literacy and collegial pedagogy, situating youth media pedagogy in the ethos of progressive academia and higher education. The authors then introduce some solid takeaways and tips for practitioners and educators on the ground, including the phases of production, nine identified factors that promote youth engagement, interview tips, and specific elements of what they coin “the feature” and “the frame.” Engaging stories, challenges, lessons learned and activities fill up the near 200 pages of this volume. Drop That Knowledge wraps up with three key chapters: Alumni Lives, an epilogue by Youth Radio founder Ellin O’Leary, and specific training exemplars from Youth Radio curriculum. To review Lissa’s own chapter layout and overview, go to her blog here.
Drop That Knowledge emphasizes an important element to youth media and youth radio: youth-adult collaborations. Despite new technology and the assumption that young people are experts in navigating new media, Soep & Chavez show the reader that youth media projects are mediated processes that guide and mentor young people to connect their experiences to advocate for change in a manner and voice that can reach (and resonate with) a large audience—for Youth Radio, that means National Public Radio (NPR) with a listenership in the millions.
As the editor-in-chief of Youth Media Reporter, a professional multi-media journal that documents the best practices of the youth media field, the questions I ask of a chapter or book that needs to be forthcoming, is: what qualities, values or principles make a youth media educator? After meeting and publishing about three hundred educators, all of whom come from many different ethnic and educational backgrounds who enter youth media’s world all too often by happenstance, I want to know what a youth media educator is as defined by the field. What does a youth media educator look like? With the possibility of youth media exponentially growing—as it its progressive power that lays in its strategic uses of technology, mediated process, and access to large audiences is realized—providing a concise depiction of what it takes to be a youth media educator is critical to sustaining this important work. Perhaps an extension of the final chapter of “Alumni Lives,” as modeled in Drop That Knowledge could lead Soep & Chavez to collaborate once again to capture such a blueprint from the voice sof young people and their adult allies.
As an educator, I would have also liked to see more gender analysis and more discussion during sections that bring up conversations on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues throughout the book. Increasingly, youth media programs are providing important safe spaces for exploring gender stereotypes and identities that attract queer teens and feminist praxis. Currently, there are several girl-specific youth media organizations—TVbyGirls (Twin Cities), Reel Girls (Seattle, WA), Girls Write Now (New York, NY), Teen Voices (Boston, MA), Khmer Girls in Action (Long Beach, CA), and the 15-25 Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls to name a few—and LGBTQ youth media programs—particularly provided at Reel Girls (Reel Queer), REACH LA (Los Angeles, LA), BeyondMedia Education (Chicago, IL), and Global Action Project’s Supafriends (New York, NY)—who would benefit from such insight and pedagogy.
Drop That Knowledge is a great launching point for educators to learn more about the youth media experience, sharing perspectives and constructing opportunities while guiding the generation of powerful stories to affect social change. That youth media affords any young person with a platform to discuss oppression and experiment with crafty, media innovation is reason to learn the art of youth media, starting with Drop That Knowledge.
Ingrid Hu Dahl is the editor-in-chief of Youth Media Reporter and a program officer of youth media at the Academy for Educational Development. Dahl is an adjunct professor, currently teaching Imagery & Culture at Rutgers-Newark. She holds an M.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies from Rutgers and lectures nationally and internationally on youth media/media literacy, identity, LGBTQ issues, women’s leadership and social change. She is a founding member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in Brooklyn, NY and in the band, Rad Pony.

For Immediate Hire: Job Opening with Wide Angle | Program Manager

Wide Angle is looking for a dedicated, energetic, and engaged Program Manager to guide, support, and manage our youth media programs.
The Program Manager will work directly with students and staff and be a leader in the organization. Our core programs serve 100 youth annually and we reach an additional 400 students with presentations and mini-workshop opportunities. Excellent facilitation, leadership, communication, administrative, and youth development skills are necessary. The ideal candidate will be highly organized and passionate about youth-directed media that has the power to change communities. This is a position with room for growth and opportunity. Please visit for the full job description and details on how to apply.

Youth Media Project Program and Education Director

Youth Media Project (YMP) Program and Education Director oversees programming, including the Audio Revolution! radio production team and educational programs. Applicant should be proficient in the teaching of: media literacy, interviewing, researching, audio recording, digital and social media skills, and creative writing (experience with narrative radio a plus). Also required is the ability to be flexible and work with diverse partner educators in Northern New Mexico schools, colleges and advocacy groups to adapt YMP program curricula to their specific needs. Program and Education Director must be organized to oversee the various strands of educational and production activities. YMP teaches the craft of digital storytelling for a socially responsible world; students learn how to develop their voices and produce narratives, commentaries, spoken word pieces, radio dramas, and panel discussions for distribution on the radio and internet and for presentations to peers and policy makers.
This is a part-time, contractual position. $25/hr x 20 hours/week, plus GRT.
If you’d like to apply for the position, please go to and explore what we do. Then send a resume and cover letter answering the questions below to
1. From your exploration the website and any other sources (interested in knowing what they may be) please describe what you believe is the purpose of Youth Media Project (in your own words, not ours) and how YMP fulfills this mission?
2. What are your particular qualifications, skills and experiences you believe will deepen and expand the work of YMP? Please, be specific and we welcome innovation and initiative.
3. What kind of impact would you hope to have on youth, both locally and globally (via the internet)?