A gallery of audio, video, writing and art by youth mediamakers addressing juvenile justice.

Youth Media Council

The following is a summary of the Youth Media Councilās upcoming report, "Speaking for Ourselves: A Youth Assessment of Local News Coverage." Check back here for the full report, available by the end of February 2002. For more information, visit www.interrupt.org/ymc.html.

Speaking for Ourselves: A Youth Assessment of Local News Coverage

Summary of Report

The public depends on the news media to understand its children and the world. Seventy-six percent of the public say they form their opinions about social issues like crime from what they read and watch in the news. And despite a 33 percent decline in juvenile crime since 1993, two-thirds of the American public still believe crime is rising. The disparity between coverage of youth and the real-life conditions of youth has led to the criminalization of an entire generation.

In April 2001, the Youth Media Council brought together 15 working-class youth of color from Oakland, California to conduct the research for a three and a half month study of KTVU Channel 2ās "The Ten Oāclock News." In collaboration with the eight grassroots youth organizations in the YMC, we analyzed 108 broadcasts of KTVU news coverage of youth and found 257 stories about youth. We wanted to know, "Who is speaking in news coverage of youth?" "Is context given to issues of crime, poverty, and education in coverage of youth?" "What are the most covered issues in news coverage of youth?" Our findings will be released in a report in February 2002.

Through our study and the ongoing work of the Youth Media Council we hope to promote media accountability by building strong, lasting relationships with news outlets and journalists. We believe that itās time for media outlets to start telling the whole truth about our lives, our families, and our communities.

Perspectives from Youth Media Council Members

Tharey Sen, Campaign & Research Team:

"When I turn on the television now all I see is our people being criminalized, and made to suffer more than they already were. Isnāt it bad enough that we live in poverty and do what we have to survive the mean streets of this country? All I ask is that the news media show whatās really going on. Show how we really live, what we have to do in order to stay alive. Shed some light on the root causes of why crime exists, instead of blaming kids for social problems adults created. Let more of our voices be heard and represented. Put our experts up there on the screen laying out the real, complete facts. Show us as the future, and donāt focus so heavily on our mistakes. When we come together to protest and demonstrate for a cause, donāt just merely quote our angers and frustrations. Come and talk to us, have meetings with us, show up at our press conferences. Report on the real deal. Most youth are not violent, thugs, or out of control, but we donāt want to be pacified either. We should be congratulated for organizing for justice."

Aryeetey Welbeck, CRT:

The media Š Donāt believe the hype
To sit down in the house is not to fight.
Wanna hear the news, then be the news
The majority of it is aimed to fools.
Only report the people who break the rules.
Itās time to make a change in the brain of the influenced
The little ones who thinks itās fun to cause destruction for nothing
Make something out of your life.
Fight for your rights is the message Iām stressinā.
We Interrupt This Message, tuck it up and start steppinā.
KTVU Channel 2 we tired of asking you to portray us and not betray us
As drug dealers and rapers pullinā capers,
But not as an intelligent race
Steadily try to erase us.
Campaign Research find the source of the hurt
Take a chance and make work.
Some got smarts of the turf with skills at work
Coming together for a common goal
Is to take the media by hold.

Youth Media Council Project Partners:
C-Beyond, Center for Young Womenās Development, HOPE for Girls Project of Asians & Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health, Letās Get Free, Youth Force Coalition, Youth for Oakland United, Youth Making a Change, Youth United for Community Action

The Campaign & Research Team:
BrŽyon Austin, Caresse Bray, Emil DuPont, Shunay Dornners, Monique Gomez, Justin McFadden, Rene Morales, Maria Oliva, Betty Pham, Ebony Pierce, Micky Roungrevang, Tawn Saechao, Meuy Saephanh, Tharey Sen, Harold Senna, Andrew Vo, Aryeetey Welbeck. Coordinator, David Kahn.

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