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YMG students love learning journalism– even in the summer!

By Brie Zeltner

Youthcast Media Group®

Summer is officially underway, and we’re busier than ever at YMG. You may think that teenagers just want to turn off their brains after a busy school year, but we’re working with two dozen who just want to keep going, learning and discovering more about journalism and their communities.

YMG staff Jayne O'Donnell (CEO and founder), Kyndall Hubbard (Editorial Assistant) and Courtney Curtis (Media Intern) at Banneker High School with the newspaper club

This week marks the end of our third “Journalism 101” Introduction to News Writing boot camps, and we’ve been working with students in Philadelphia, Hartford, Connecticut, D.C. and Baltimore as they write news briefs about how the 988 hotline and climate change are impacting their communities, and youth in particular. Our Philadelphia team, with five students from three different high schools (two new to our programs!) are out and about, as I write this, interviewing their peers about 988, the mental health alternative to 911, and whether they would be comfortable using it. We’ll turn their work into a story that we aim to get published locally in Philadelphia.

In July, we’ll launch our sixth Canva for Social Media Journalism class, this time embedded in an existing STEM-focused summer camp in Philadelphia. We’ll work with 12 students who are interested in learning about how to create journalistic social media content, and we’ll publish their work on our accounts starting in August – so make sure to check it out!

This busy summer comes on the heels of a successful and equally exciting spring. Students at Annandale High School in Alan Weintraut’s journalism class wrote about topics including mental health, vape stores and turf field injuries before they tackled stories on teen entrepreneurship and how financial literacy affects youth throughout their lives. You can check out six of their stories here. Weintraut, who has been teaching journalism for nearly 30 years, said that the interaction with YMG was “a shot-in-the-arm to our journalism program!” He added that his students “flourish under the guidance of the experienced YMG journalists. They share their decades of real-world knowledge when my students pitch story ideas, begin to cultivate sources & questions to ask, and do the final edit and polish their stories. The YMG instructors are enthusiastic and patient with my students. With large class sizes, I often don’t have time to provide the one-to-one instruction like the YMG journalists have during in-person and virtual conferences.”

Sandy Block, senior editor at Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine (left) talks to Annandale High School student and YMG contributor Michelle Collins Escobar (center) and Kyndall Hubbard, YMG editorial assistant

We plan to be back at Annandale in the fall, will continue to work with some of DC’s Benjamin Banneker High School students and will be adding DC-based Bard High School Early College’s journalism class to our list of partners with Canva Social Media training beginning in the fall.

Our Spring workshop students wrote amazing stories about the causes and solutions to food insecurity in their communities. One of their pieces, written by our Philadelphia students, was recently published in Billy Penn, the online news site affiliated with NPR station WHYY. We expect the other two stories, from Miami and DC-area students, to publish in the coming weeks.

Signing off to go teach another class!


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