In a world where it’s increasingly popular for young people to create, upload, and disseminate information, having the right to speak, debate, and write is not enough; this right and its accompanying skills must be supported and nurtured. StreetPress, a French youth media organization run by and for young citizen journalists, ensures youth perspectives are included in public debates. I recently spoke with Johan Weisz-Myara, CEO of StreetPress.
What is StreetSchool?
StreetSchool is what we like to call “the people’s journalism university.” It was created to support young people from a range of social, cultural, and economic backgrounds who want to speak up or who plan to become journalists, but don’t have the necessary funds to take on such endeavours through traditional paths.
The school was launched in 2012 and provides on-the-ground training that includes techniques in news writing, interviewing, political and legal journalism, sound recording, shooting, and editing. It also focuses on new facets of online media such as crowdsourcing, fact-checking, and data visualization. The school not only invests in helping these young reporters build journalistic skills, but skills that will ignite sociopolitical change and spark civic engagement in their communities.
Why are young reporters a necessity for democracy?
In an era where democracy is being threatened by extremist groups, young reporters have become the voice that challenges discourse that fuels such hatred. At StreetPress, we often publish stories that denounce discrimination against migrants, young people, and minorities with the goal to raise awareness and bring about change.
The ability to create and disseminate provocative content that nurtures young people’s minds and becomes a force for social change is what makes youth media essential for democracy.
Journalistic standards and ethics are essential for quality content. How do you ensure young reporters sustain these practices?
By learning the principles of good journalism, media ethics, debate, argumentation, and media literacy, these young people will learn to think critically about social and political issues within their communities and abroad, and systematically apply a more reasoned and conscious approach to their work. We want to help young people not only become socially conscious creators of content, but be able to comprehend and deal with the technological turn that journalism is facing with online media.
We believe that critical thinking skills nurture journalistic talent and the advancement of a democratic society. Young people should not only theoretically believe in making change—they should actually make change happen through journalism.