Can you Imagine a Better World?

Can you Imagine a Better World? is an initiative of that will launch a series of start-up meetings areound the world the week of February 5-11, 2007. The project derives from three main points:
1. All over the world there are many people who share similar values, dreams, and challenges.
2. With all the tools we have now, we can communicate like never before.
3. If all of us had more opportunities to connect and work together, online and face-to-face, in neighborhoods, villages, schools, and workplaces, the world would be a different place.
How different? Go to the project page to find out.

Voices of Youth: Report

Youth Version of the Report of the Expert Group Meeting on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl Child just released a report entitled, “Stop discrimination and violence against girls: you have the power to do something.” Log on to Voices of Youth to review the report and fill out the questionnaire.

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MySpace & YouTube

It was my mother who always said “sometimes you have to work within a corporate giant to plant the seed for change.” So, how does an innovative and web based site YouTube, now owned by the corporate giant Google, warrant spaces for social change? How can YouTube continue to be a free expressive site for personal video if owned by a corporate giant expecting to make a profit?
Looking at YouTube’s fellow internet comrade MySpace might give us some insight. MySpace has been an extremely powerful tool to connect all kinds of people: bands, politicians, volunteers, and friends, but especially youth. It has become the place for creating a visual counterpart to on-line identities. On a daily basis, youth invest several hours creating and updating their profiles, adding technically advanced features to their accounts, and chatting with their virtual community of friends—all for free. Young people develop a sense of ownership of their MySpace world and it is powerful.
When in dialogue with youth about the fact that News Corporation, owner of Fox broadcasting channels and other major media outlets, owns and operates MySpace, many youth frown upon the news. Nevertheless, this does not stop them from using MySpace as an accessible tool of connecting, researching, and mobilizing their communities. There is reason to be critical and cautious about corporate owned operations. If MySpace (or YouTube) does not continue to demonstrate success through profit, its owners can shut it down or require a costly user fee. Furthermore, if material on these sites runs counter to some of the corporation’s beliefs or philosophies, can these corporations start to sensor or edit material? Possibly. But for now, MySpace still facilitates radical activism and youth connectivity whether News Corporation wants it to or not.
The most recent social networking site bought by a corporation, YouTube, started as a resource for bands, record labels, and the music industry at large. Still operating as a free resource to this audience, YouTube has also attracted youth activists to use videos as sources of political irony, spread opinions, garner activism, and document injustice. For example, young people in attendance at a rock show in Houston, TX, where the band Two Gallants performed, used video features on their cell phones to document an account of police brutality. These clips were uploaded onto YouTube; some were viewed 658,090 times, which sparked a massive electronic discussion on issues raised by the incident and proved the bands’ innocence in a lawsuit.
YouTube, like MySpace, has the ability to connect ideas, opinions, and attitudes by offering users the ability to upload, share, and comment on videos from people all over the world. Much like a virus, the internet can be, in Karen Brooks’ words from the Dallas Morning News “powerful when a video, a photograph, a slogan––or a spoof thereof––catches on and spreads to thousands or hundreds of thousands of home pages and profiles.”
Youth are using YouTube as a tool to create grassroots movements despite the potential downsides of corporate ownership. Though Google now owns and operates YouTube, youth have not stopped using the site’s ability to bolster their activism in new and innovative ways. Until YouTube or MySpace start censoring, editing, or even co-opting the original material posted on these sites, young people will continue using the resources these sites offer despite changes in ownership.
YouTube offers a new, paradoxical model for youth media activism; it is used as a resource for organizing and civic action, but viewed as a profit driver by its corporate owners. Ultimately, YouTube offers youth a powerful tool in planting the seeds of social change outside and within a corporate domain. As Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas states in, “If we could just tap into the ingenuity of young people and the energy they bring to MySpace and translate that energy into civic involvement, then I think you’ve done something powerful.” It looks as though young people have not only tapped, but propelled their ingenuity straight into YouTube and are going to continue to use it in powerful ways, despite recent corporate ownership. And, it is this youth-driven ingenuity that will determine whether Google reaps profit from its users or in fact, ends up supporting a new culture of youth activism that controls, harnesses, and uses YouTube as a device for social change.
Ingrid H. Dahl is the new editor of Youth Media Reporter at AED. She is a founding member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, in three rock bands, and has an M.A. degree in Women’s & Gender Studies.

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next month (february):

“Community partnerships” is a method for practioners/non-profits to link with the University classroom, receive high levels of research for evaluation (or grant writing purposes), and the opportunity to co-teach courses at Universities with students interested in service learning, civic engagement, and community-based research.

Continue reading next month (february):

letter from the editor (volume 1:issue 1)

Greetings! It is an honor to introduce a new look, home, and editor to Youth Media Reporter (YMR) at the beginning of a New Year.
Originally launched and managed by Open Society Institute, YMR is now housed at the Academy for Educational Development in New York City; specifically AED’s Center for Schools and Communities. AED, an organization that pioneers positive approaches to leadership in youth development and civic engagement, is proud to re-launch YMR. YMR will continue capturing, building, and celebrating the dynamic, thriving field of youth media with a new synergistic approach.
As the new editor of YMR, I welcome youth media professionals, leaders, creators, and activists to the year 2007; a year bound to expand and connect work from the fascinating and multilayered perspectives in the field. From my own diverse background, which includes empowering young women leaders through music, teaching gender studies in academia, promoting youth and media activism, deciphering civic engagement best practices, working in LGBTQ communities, actively performing in bands, and having an interest in pop culture, art history, and design, I am honored to become part of the YMR community.
As editor, my goals are to:
• Increase the visibility of the youth media field and the publication;
• Build the youth media field by providing a space for dialogue and documentation;
• Support the development of the field to become more professional as a national media movement;
• Reach a wider, more diverse audience;
• Share knowledge of youth media across fields such as community and youth organizing, civic education, service-learning, and youth and community development;
• Promote the work produced by and for young people in video, film, television, radio, web, art, and print;
• Celebrate and emphasize the degree that young people and their allies use media to make a difference, ignite creative imagination, and match leadership with voice.
My hope is to build YMR as the publication and intellectual resource for youth media professionals domestically and internationally. YMR is for anyone interested in original reporting, commentary, and articles written by the youth media community. It has always been my belief that spaces to share information, reflect on work done, develop practice, ascertain new approaches and pedagogy, and celebrate youth led social change are ways we make a difference in our communities, our culture, and our lives. YMR is part of harnessing the creation of a new culture that embraces the power of youth media.
Be on the look out for new articles and updates around the 15th of every month. Tell us about your work, your media, and your viewpoint: report from the field and make a difference!
With great holiday warmth,
Ingrid Hu Dahl
Editor, YMR

Write for Youth Media Reporter

How to get published in Youth Media Reporter

Multi-Media Submissions

Vodcasts / Podcasts

Youth Media Reporter is interested in short audio and video recordings of educators/practitioners discussing their work, pedagogical approaches, and discussions amongst other educators or young media makers. We are interested in the ways that educators dialogue with one another and share best practices using media. Topics should relate to the youth media field and youth media as a practice and profession.
Submit mp3 files, MOV and YouTube links to Video and audio submissions will be considered for publication depending on the validity of the material and its pertinence to the subject featured in the Youth Media Reporter edition. Selected submissions will undergo a peer “media” review process that will offer feedback, which may include requests for additional editing.
For Print Articles

Submission Guidelines

There are 3 easy steps to submit an article to YMR.
First: Complete an article template after reading what we are looking for (below)
Second: Make sure your article is within 1,000-2,000 words, includes practitioner and/or youth quotes, and research and/or web links to back up your arguement.
Third: Be prepared for a thorough editorial review process, which may require 2-3 rounds of drafts. Though extensive, the result is having a high quality article that documents a trend, perspective and/or pedagogy in the youth media field.
Sorry, YMR currently does not pay its writers. As a resource that serves practitioners in youth media, your article helps to document, expand, and build the field.
Youth Media Reporter Article Template
Target word count: 1,000–2,000
Template Deadline: 1st of the month, two months before publication date
Article Deadline: 15th of the month, two months before publication date
Submit to: Ingrid Dahl,
Length: one to two sentences
Present your argument in one to two sentences. Include the five Ws: who, what, where, when, why. Remember to make clear why this is immediate and important to professionals in the youth media field.
Length: three to five paragraphs
Support your argument with evidence ranging from logical explanations, background information, details about an event or concern, quotes from interviews or other articles, or documented research.
Length: two to three paragraphs
Tie the evidence back in with your argument about youth media, intensifying the issue. How does this relate to YMR readers? Provide details.
Length: two to three paragraphs
Reiterate your argument and leave readers with information/insights that are useful.
Once your template is approved, any major changes to it must be discussed with us.
YMR seeks:
• Research based articles, case studies and op-ed journalistic articles that share leading practices—what works and what doesn’t
• Accounts of youth media participants, leaders, and/or mentors who are working toward social change. Think diverse voices across programs throughout the U.S. and around the globe.
• Practical tools and information, such as tips, techniques, how-tos, research briefs, and lessons learned that can support youth media programs and educators.
• Reviews of books, new media literacy and/or technology, or conferences/convenings/festivals relevant to youth media.
• Discussion of current and upcoming trends, and ideas from the youth media field.
This is the perfect opportunity to develop your opinion about an issue relevant to youth media and to voice it to others in the field. Unless this is for a research-specific issue, your article will only include some research to back up your opinion if you wish. You are presenting an argument or point of view. Think Op-Ed and/or scholary research.
Your article for YMR is not a place to simply describe your organization, its mission, or its accomplishments.
Youth Media Reporter Style Guidelines
YMR follows the New York Times Op-Ed style and basic journalism style (unless you have been invited to write for a special research-based/academic issue). Please take a moment to review these details before you write in order to save us both time.
YMR articles must ensure that readers see your overall perspective and absorb your argument right away, are convinced by your article’s body of supporting information, and reach the same conclusion as you while placing that point in the larger frame of society.
• Be concise. Like you, YMR readers are pressed for time. Use active verbs and language efficiency to convey the most meaning with the fewest words.
• Be direct. Eliminate vague language and say what you mean.
• Stay focused. Cover one main subject, and use supporting details. A subject that is too large cannot be covered satisfactorily in an article-length piece. Reiterate your argument with fresh words throughout the piece to keep readers focused too.
• Write to YMR readers. They are intelligent, but they may not have the same knowledge base as you about your topic. Explain enough to fill them in by including relevant dates, descriptions of organizations or events, identifiers of people, and other necessary details.
• Stay true to yourself. You are an expert, and we want to feature you and your opinion, not a comprehensive analysis of others’ opinions or research.
Please also follow basic journalism ethics:
• If you use quotes, whether from interviews or other sources, make sure they’re exact.
• Provide source information to your editor.
• Double-check spelling of people’s and organizations’ names.
• Avoid bias. Op-ed pieces are meant to be opinion, but back your opinion up.
• Never plagiarize.
• Avoid stereotyping.
• Support the open exchange of views.
Help your editor to save time by following YMR’s grammatical style:
• Use a comma before the last item in a series.
• Do not place spaces around em dashes.
• Italicize names of books, newspapers, journals, films, etc. Place quotation marks around article titles.
• Use numerals for numbers 10 and above. Spell out one through nine.
• Write out the name of an organization on first reference and place its acronym in parentheses behind the first reference. Use the acronym thereafter.
• Feel free to use subheads and bullets to categorize and streamline your article.
As we embark on this journey to disseminate your views, please keep the following details in mind:
• Your piece should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words long. These are suggestions, not strict guidelines, but please do not stray too much.
• Your piece will be edited by youth media and publication professionals. You agree to cooperate with our editors to produce the best article possible.
• Deadlines are crucial. If you miss a deadline, your piece may not be published, and you could jeopardize the publication of the entire YMR issue. Your rough draft is due on the 15th of the month two months before your scheduled publication.
• Two to three rounds of edits and revisions are standard. Edits are returned to you within a week of your submission, and revisions are due within ten days, unless otherwise specified.
• Your article should reflect YMR’s mission: YMR’s purpose is to build the youth media field by documenting, from multiple perspectives, the work produced by and for young people in video, film, television, radio, music, web, art, and print. YMR offers insight to the degree young people and their adult allies use media to make a difference, address a point, enhance creative imagination, and match leadership with voice.
By submitting a piece to YMR for publication, you are agreeing that the piece is original and you have not plagiarized any part of it. You also understand that we do not guarantee publication of submitted articles. Once your article is accepted for publication, you are expected to sign a contract to that effect.