Youth media and civic engagement: 6 initiatives you should know about
The future of politics lies with the youth, so an early start to fostering sound media literacy practices is important. These organizations are taking the initiative to teach their students (and encourage students to teach themselves) about first-time voting, digital information and the responsibility of every individual to search for the truth.
BuzzFeed News Teen Ambassadors
Teenagers spend a great deal of time on apps like Snapchat and TikTok without even thinking about it — and media literacy can become second nature in a similar way. Although not an intuitive platform for actual news outlets, TikTok is being used by teens to create “micro history lessons” and other journalistic content. As Sara Yasin states, Gen Z is “energized by the political moment and wants to create ‘meaningful conversations’ on platforms that feel natural to them.”
The Digital Literacy Framework
Teaching Tolerance is an organization founded on the belief that everyone is equal, which includes an equal education in media literacy fundamentals. Its Digital Literacy Framework program provides resources to classrooms that encourage “social justice and anti-bias” thinking. For more information, listen to its podcast episode on Digital Literacy and Youth Civic Engagement.
KQED Youth Media Challenge: Let’s Talk About Election 2020
The value of an informed teacher is immeasurable, so KQED is providing resources to help teachers help their students. Through a special curriculum that emphasizes creating media, young people will better understand the coming election and the ways they can influence it.
Poynter’s MediaWise Voter Project
As part of its MediaWise Voter Project, Poynter is hiring college students to teach peers and other first-time voters about fake news and making sound media decisions. It opens up an interesting discussion about young people teaching fellow young people — is it more effective than older adults teaching them? Additionally, many first-time voters are not young at all. Do older adults benefit from the perspective of the youth?
YR Media and Radio Rookies
Radio Rookies and YR Media both focus on teaching young people how to speak to their communities and the world through award-winning journalism and radio broadcasting programs. Radio Rookies is based in New York and YR Media’s reach is national, which means plenty of opportunities no matter where you live. Recently, they teamed up for the 18-29 Now Election Project, an initiative to help students share what the 2020 election means to them.
We’re always looking for programs to add to this list. Comment below or send us a tweet if you have one to contribute!
Quinlyn Shaughnessy is a Mediactive teaching assistant with a love for all things media-related. She holds a BA in Mass Communication & Media Studies from ASU’s Cronkite School and can usually be found typing, reading or watching.