YouthContent by wuxiangyu


									Community Journalism for Youth
While many newspapers have embraced the
 concept of "community journalism" and
 "reverse publishing" most have shied away
 from allowing youth to participate. Denver
 Newspaper Agency took on the challenge of
 building a kid-friendly, web-safe community
 journalism site for 8 – 13 year-olds to engage
 our younger readers and provide
 opportunities for authentic writing and an
 online voice.
Background and rationale

Three things supported the decision to offer a
  website/newspaper for 8 – 13 year olds.
  A recent NAA report giving hard statistical data that
  newspaper content for teens, by teens and relating to
  teens strongly bolsters a newspaper’s ability to attract
  young readers and keep them as they age. Reaching
  younger readers helps to create a newspaper reading
  habit before that critical age. The study determined:
     75 percent of the respondents who read newspaper
      content for teens when they were 13 to 17 years old are
      currently reading their local paper at least once a week.
     Content specifically written for and about teens is the
      strongest driver of teen section reading.
Background and rationale (cont.)

     Personal connections are a strong secondary attraction,
      including writing for the section or being mentioned in
      an article, or knowing others who were similarly
     A similarly strong connection between teen sections and
      later use of the newspaper’s Web site.
   Involvement in the Council on 21st Century
     Emphasis on what students need to succeed in the 21st
      Century. Communication and collaboration skills are
      one of the three main areas.
     Students need to contribute as well as obtain
      information and Web 2.0 is an ideal way.
   Denver ranks 6th in the U.S. in Internet use.
Rationale for web platform choice
  The platform is used to
  produce 47 websites and 18 print products
  for the Denver Metro area. Readers age 14
  and up can post to the site. Adapting that
  platform for 8 – 13 year olds had several
      It had the look and feel of a real newspaper site.
      Our younger readers would become familiar with
       the site and how to use it, providing for a
       transition later to reading
      When they became 14, they could graduate to
       writing for
Development – Time Line
  Sept. – Oct. 2006
      Met with editor to obtain support.
      Researched Child Online Protection Act (COPA)
       requirements for 13 years-old and under.
      Met with software developers at Indigio Group,
       Inc. to see if platform could be
       reprogrammed to be compliant with COPA.
           Parental permission
           Personal information not displayed
           Parents can ask to have content removed
           Ad content controlled within the site
           Anyone can view the site, but only registered users can
            post, rate or comment on the site.
Development – Time Line
   November, 2006
      Announced new website to a focus group of
       current Youth Reporters (about 40), asked for
       suggestions for a name and took a vote for the
       final name: Gen.
 Dec. 2006 – Jan. 2007
      Indigio completed reprogramming.
      Lawyer reviewed permission form.
 Feb. 2007
      Jill Armstrong, site manager, trained in use of site.
Development – Time Line
  March, 2007
      Site is launched at a training for current youth
       reporters. 25 youth attend the training and begin
       posting to the site.
  April – May, 2007
      E-mails sent to classroom teachers announcing
       site and asking for comments. Discovered several
       school districts were blocking the site as a social
       networking site. Made calls and visits to school
       districts to get site unblocked.
Development – Time Line
  June, 2007
      Marketed Youth Journalism Day for 50 youth, held
       concurrently with Summer Teacher Conference.
       Available space filled in 1 week.
  July, 2007
      Youth Journalism Day. Youth trained by and Rocky Mountain News staff.
      Reporters talked about their experience and
       showed their postings to 250 teachers in
       attendance at the Teacher’s Conference.
Development – Time Line
  August, 2007
    Youth Reporter Training at
       the Arvada Center. Youth wrote stories about a
       play, a history museum and a special handicapped
       accessible playground.
  September, 2007
      Announcements to classroom teachers about and opportunities for
       students to participate.
Development – Contributions
  Software development costs were
  approximately $8,000. This was covered by
  The Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA).
  Indigio Group trained the site manger and
  helped train the initial group of reporters. and The Rocky Mountain News
  staff help with ongoing training of youth
  reporters, as well as DNA staff.
  Ongoing hosting and training costs are
  covered by the DNA.
  Advertised for reporters in “Colorado Kids”
  and “The Mini Page” in spring, 2007
   now for next year)
   Received 43
  applications. All
  were offered
  positions and
  Article about
  written by a
  youth reporter
  in the May 29th
  issue of
Youth Journalism Day
The theme for our annual
  Summer Teacher
  Conference was “Blazing
  Trails into the 21st
  Century.” At the same
  time and place, we held a
  Youth Journalism Day to
  train youth reporters.
  Information was included
  in the brochure mailed
  out to 30,000 teachers..
  Several teachers opted to
  enroll their children.
There was a $50
fee for this day,
since it included
two meals, T-
shirts and
materials. This ad
ran twice. The
maximum of 50
participants was
reached in one
week and almost
30 people were
put on a waiting
 Anyone can view the site, but only registered users
 can actively participate in the site. Registered users
 are limited to 4th-8th grade Colorado students (ages
 Users post stories, photographs, reviews, blogs and
 calendar events.
 Users also rate stories written by other reporters and
 post comments. This interactivity is very important in
 engaging them in the site.
 Site manager chooses stories and blogs to be
 featured on the home page.
 Users respond to a weekly poll on a current topic.
 Users follow web links for more information on
 selected topics from the print product.
 The site manager reviews content, but users can also
 report inappropriate content or comments by clicking
 on a link next to each story and comment.
 Parents are also asked to review material and can
 ask for postings to be removed.
Each registered
  user must first
  submit a
can be
viewed by
date or by
There are
a number
Reporters can post multiple
photographs to go with their
stories and can create a
profile. The profile is
checked to make sure it
doesn’t include identifying
Reporters also enjoy
blogging and frequently
write reviews of books,
movies, toys and game.
Students can
comment on
each others
stories and
So far,
students are
being very
careful in
what they
post, but this
is a safety
  “Colorado Kids” appears in the Tuesday
  Denver Post. It features content written by
  youth reporters every other week.
  A “NextGen” column appears in selected
  issues of the print product each
  Next year, we plan to include writing by
  younger reporters in the syndicated feature
  “The Mini Page” (Wednesday Rocky Mountain
Two stories
posted on
Summer Youth Journalism Day
Summer Youth Journalism Day trained
  future reporters and challenged the
  participants to product web content in
  one day.
     Opened with a presentation by the
      publisher and editor of the Rocky Mountain
      News and an overview by a reporter.
     Sessions on interviewing, writing news
      stories, blogs and reviews.
Agenda for Youth Journalism Day

      Students were given
       assignments: man-on-the
       street interviews,
       reviewing an art show,
       covering the teacher
       conference. They also
       took photographs.
      Went into a computer lab
       and posted their stories
       and photos to the website.
      Ended the day with a
       demonstration to the 250
       teachers at the Teacher’s
       Conference. One student
       said “This is the best day
       of my life.”
Articles appeared in the Rocky Mountain
  News, three issues of,
  and the Colorado Press Association
  about Youth Journalism Day and
by the
of the
printed in
August 4
Complete article at:

One of three
articles about
Day posted at
Complete article at:

   was also
   in the
   edition of
Youth Journalism
Day was featured
in the August,
2007 issue of
Colorado Editor,
the official
publication of the
Colorado Press
Ongoing Training
 Free Youth Reporter Trainings offered every
 few months.
   Pulitzer-prize winning Rocky Mountain
    News photographers presented a slide
    show and gave tips
   Offside hands-on photography workshop
    where youth received an overview, then
    took photos which we critiqued
 Presentations to classrooms on using
Ongoing Training
 High School Journalism Day is held every
 April at the University of Denver.
 Professionals from the Rocky Mountain News
 and CBS4 present on a wide variety of topics.
 Normally just for high school, we invite our
 8th grade reporters to attend on a
 scholarship. This year, 4 reporters attended.
One page tip sheet
for youth reporters
on writing,
photography and
Reporters receive a
reporter notebook
to use for notes.
We also provide
handouts with
story guidelines
and writing tips.
Ongoing Marketing
Recruitment Ad for next year

Senior Youth
products to
review and
  This site was formally launched as of July 27,
  2007. As of May 13, 2008, youth reporters
  had posted 716 stories, reviews and blogs.
  New items are posted almost every day.
  There are 208 registered users, compared
  with approximately 40 youth reporters before
Evaluation & Results
  Our goal of transitioning reporters is working.
  We graduated two reporters in 2007 from to
  They are now actively posting to and have been published
  several times. One is a featured blogger.
  Both talk about how meaningful their
  experiences were as youth reporters and
  helped train this year’s staff. This spring we
  will graduate eight more.
Future Plans
  Democratic National Convention
     We will have credentials for three reporters,
      mentors and a teacher. In addition, reporters will cover events
      outside the Pepsi Center to post to We will reverse-publish a
      complete print issue of on Aug. 28.
  A second Youth Journalism Day this June
     At our building to involve more professional
     To expand to 100 participants.

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