Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Journalism May Be Suffering, But Young People Still Love Journalism

Two stories have come across my desk in the last two days and I have to say that both are highly inspirational.

The first arrived in the form of PR from Children's Pressline, a nonprofit media group serving young people. Read this and tell me if it doesn't make you tear up:


Children’s PressLine, the not-for-profit organization that teaches kids eight to 18 to be journalists, today announced that 13 of its youth journalists will cover the Inaugural celebrations of President-Elect Barack Obama. The team will travel to Washington, DC, and commence coverage on January 16. Their work will be published in newspapers across the country.

The young journalists hail from New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and New Orleans, cities where Children’s PressLine maintains or is growing a presence. Covering the Inaugural celebrations provides an immersion-learning environment as reporters assume real responsibilities in a professional environment and compete for interviews with adult reporters. Each team member will execute all facets of journalistic work, including story development, research, reporting, interviewing and writing articles for Children’s PressLine’s media partners. In this real-world environment, these children will gain a true sense of their capabilities as journalists and their responsibility to cover youth issues for an adult audience.

Children’s PressLine, together with its predecessor organization, Children’s Express, has a legacy of political coverage and has reported from every major political convention since 1976. Within the organization, coverage of presidential conventions and inaugurations is recognized as an honor and a privilege of mythical proportion. To date, each youth journalist has met and exceeded the challenge. In fact, at its first convention, a Children’s Express reporter scooped mainstream press, breaking the news that Jimmy Carter was choosing Walter Mondale as his running mate. In 2004, Children’s PressLine was the only youth organization that had convention-credentialed press passes for the RNCC.

At the 2008 Republican and Democratic National conventions, the CPL team interviewed more than 200 elected officials, delegates and local youth, producing 73 pieces of content in print, video and audio formats. This work was published in New York’s Daily News and The Amsterdam News, Metro USA (Boston, Philadelphia and New York editions), Minneapolis Star Tribune, and PBS’ The Online NewsHour, reaching more than 4 million adults and youth. Children’s PressLine was also featured by CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s News Now, Fox's Good Day Colorado, ChannelOne, Minneapolis Public Radio, Newsweek, the Oregonian, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger and Greeley (Colo.) Tribune.

Youth coverage of major political events is vital in a democracy. Through Children’s PressLine, young people, who make up 26% of the population, ask questions directly to politicians and policymakers and provide them with information they need to make educated decisions.

Children's PressLine is a not-for-profit organization that trains kids aged eight to 18 to be journalists. What sets CPL apart is that our young journalists report and edit stories targeted to adult audiences as well as kids. Major broadcast and print media outlets across the country have aired and printed these stories including The New York Daily News, BBC World Service, Metro New York, New York Amsterdam News, Tweens and Teens News and via syndication through the Scripps Howard News Services.

Children’s PressLine is heir to a 26-year-old tradition of integrating youth perspective into mainstream media. A spin-off of Children’s Express – the only youth-produced news organization to win both Emmy and Peabody Awards - CPL seeks to continue empowering the voice of youth, serving as a window to the hearts and minds of this under-heard and underserved community. The result is an unquestionably authentic, graceful and mature approach to the search for truth.

Please join us this Sunday, January 18, between 2 and 5 pm for a celebration of Children's PressLine - hosted by the Ralls Collection in Georgetown, 1516 31st Street, NW - to RSVP to the reception you may call 1-202-342-1754 or email Sarah Kennedy at rallswashington@aol.com.

Welcome by Guest of Honor Judy Woodruff
2:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Special Presentation by CPL Youth
4:00 - 4:15 p.m.

And then there's Damon Weaver and this video. Watch!

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