The Digital Natives project has come to an end. Our content production finished in May and now as the Digital Natives Coordinating Senior Editor, I’m taking care of final details and taking stock of all that the project achieved.
Digital Natives Coordinating Senior Editor is the longest job title I’ve ever had. Probably the only question I heard more often in the last 10 months than, “What’s a Digital Native?” was “You’re a coordinating senior whaa?”
Once I explained what a digital native is and the goals of the project, people were almost unanimously supportive. Just about everyone has an anecdote about generations accessing information differently. And just about everyone wants the news industry to adapt and stay afloat.
The Digital Natives project had many goals: to discover what happens when two media organizations with vastly different cultures collaborate, to experiment with content and platforms, and lastly, to bring a young, more digitally engaged audience to public broadcasting.
The project made inroads on many of its goals: we increased the number of youth voices on KQED radio and KQED.org. Together, Youth Radio and KQED experimented with using Twitter to tell stories. The project influenced KQED to begin using more video. Both organizations realized the power of Facebook to drive audience. Together, we learned how to shoot better video and take better photos. Our content appeared on YouTube and Huffington Post and was “liked” and commented on.
During the last ten months, I’ve been extremely impressed with the talent and energy of Youth Radio. I think every news organization would benefit from sitting in on their editorial meetings. I’ve also been impressed with my colleagues at KQED who have been very open to experimenting with new technologies and who are ready to embrace new ways of storytelling.
There’s a lot of negativity in the news media these days. I’m proud that Digital Natives was able to shed some light on how journalism can not only survive, but improve.
Digital Natives Senior Coordinating Editor
Youth Radio profiles a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Nessa Mahmoudi, who wants to put her Masters of Education to use in the Oakland Unified School District. Watch below to find out why Oakland Unified is both a challenging and attractive district to teach in and why they may be turning away teachers like Mahmoudi.
Youth Radio and the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley joined forces to bring Digital Natives a video that examines how budget cuts at UCs impact students and classes at community colleges. As it turns out, one of the hottest tickets in town these days is a seat in class.
Youth Radio’s Noah Nelson and alldayplay.fm‘s Brandon McFarland recently launched a new podcast called Maker’s New Math. The series examines how media makers (bloggers, musicians, journalists, etc.) are making a living in the new economy — you know, the one where everyone expects everything to be free.
Nelson and McFarland do a great job capturing both the opportunities and challenges that result from readily available distribution tools like YouTube, iTunes, and social media networks. Their best-of-times/worst-of-times analysis is some of the more accurate and honest I’ve heard. Interviews so far include Jesse Thorn from The Sound of Young America, vlogger Molly McAleer, and Fred Beneson of Kickstarter.
The NPR Spring 2010 interns have released their issue of Intern Edition, the news magazine produced entirely by those most unsung of heroes — interns. Intern Edition (IE) empowers interns to cover news they deem important in their own voices and styles, all the while pairing each intern with a mentor who offers advice, support, and an occasional treat from Starbucks (did I mention that most NPR internships are unpaid?).
Click here to listen to and watch the Spring 2010 episode of Intern Edition at NPR.org.
In full disclosure — I participated in IE when I was an intern at Talk of the Nation. Putting together my piece was one of the most powerful parts of my internship and I think that every decent-size news organization should replicate the project. Not only does it build camaraderie between interns, it also fosters one-on-one interaction between veterans and up-and-comers, and most importantly, the program gives young people complete control of a news property, offering a partial solution to the young voices vs. young journalist dilemma I’ve discussed in earlier posts.
Imagine, if every four months, newsrooms all over the country sat and listened to their interns’ ideas. I have a feeling the news business would be better off and could make some progress on that whole “Why don’t young people read/watch/listen to the news anymore?” problem.
Again, here’s the link to the Spring 2010 Intern Edition. Use it.
The death of 29 coal miners in a West Virginia mine explosion has left many outside of the coal mining community struggling to understand its dangers and culture. One of the most moving pieces I have heard on the topic came from Youth Radio‘s Willa Johnson. She shared her struggle to fight the coal mining industry while simultaneously trying to maintain relationships with friends and family members who work in the mines.
Here’s a short sample:
“My grandfather has black lung and my dad has slipped a disk in his back. I have an older brother who I can’t talk to anymore; he still drives a coal truck and believes I have made him the enemy. Truthfully I can’t decide if he is the unsung victim or the unsung hero here in the mountains.”
Another worthwhile piece is “Why We Still Mine Coal,” which aired on NPR last week. According to the report, the United States produced about 1 billion tons of coal last year and half of the country’s electricity is produced using coal.
The Mt. Eden High School Band is good. How good? Well, they were invited to perform at the Beijing Olympics. Unfortunately, the students had to decline the invitation because the trip was too expensive. Reporter Mina Kim caught up with the band for this week’s California Report Magazine. She’ll find out how a such a strong program has persisted in such hard times.
To listen to the program, click below:
To see a photo slideshow of the Mt. Eden High School Band visit TheCaliforniaReport.org.
KQED’s multiplatform science program, Quest, recently launched a new, web-only series called “Science on the SPOT” in conjunction with their latest television offerings. According to senior producer Craig Rosa, the web series aims to “drill down on one place, one science concept, one person, and see the science in action as it is happening, with the folks who make it happen. All with a style that gives a nod to our award-winning broadcast TV and radio stories, but with its own voice.” Here’s their first episode, Swimming with the Sharks:
Personally, I’d love to see the concept applied to some political coverage. Paging John Myers.
Youth Radio‘s Austin de Rubira is ready for college. Well, at least he says he is. Citing unchallenging, repetitive curriculum, de Rubira praised the implementation of an exam that would allow students to test out of high school as “college ready,” and start taking classes at community colleges.
You can read and listen to de Rubira’s full commentary at youthradio.org.
And if you’d like to get a sense of who exactly would want to skip high school and go straight to college, take a look at de Rubira’s video on Coming Out of Conformity:
Youth Radio produced the video as part of the Youth Perspectives contest. We’re a bit biased, but we think de Rubira could handle just about anything.
Rep. Jackie Speier announced she will be holding a youth town hall on Monday, April 12 for young adults ages 18-25. In an announcement about the town hall, the congresswoman said, “Young people are passionate and full of ideas about how to improve our community, but too often they are not heard. I look forward to spending an evening with them, talking openly about their concerns and see how we can do better.” Those comments are not entirely surprising given that Speier debated the merits of young people during her appearance on The Colbert Report:
Congresswoman Speier represents California’s 12th district, which includes parts of San Francisco and stretches down to Redwood City. The youth town hall will be held from 7:00 to 8:30pm in San Mateo at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Conference Center.
For more information on the town hall visit Jackie Speier’s website.