Incorporating the Youth Perspective
Tips on covering youth violence from veteran journalist and ethnic media trainer Stephen Franklin.
Award-winning journalist Stephen Franklin helped develop and launch the anti-violence campaign “We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solos” to bring black and Latino communities together to spotlight anti-violence initiatives around Chicago. In the process he developed a useful guide for reporting on youth violence, which you can view in its entirety at the Chicago Is the World website. Here are a few of the most essential tips for journalists.
Creating your stories….
- Narrow your reporting to describe individuals and scenes
- Tell complex stories with one or two individuals in these systems
- Take your readers, audience, listeners to witness and see how police, courts, juvenile detention facilities operate. Stay on one angle and follow-up frequently.
Create a narrative that makes the story personal and human.
- Tell the story of one event through different eyes.
- Describe the life on a street – at a school – location where youth crime occurred
- Follow one person through the system
- Describe the trauma created for the victims and those caught up in the crime.
- Use google maps and Ushahidi or See Click Fix digital tools to chart crime-related issues to visualize the impact of the issue on a community.
- Tell us about the community and what problems youths face: poverty, unemployment, school dropout rates, access to public facilities, access to social work agencies.
Don’t nurture despair, overwhelming situations or leave your community without offering solutions.
- Who are the heroes in the hood?
- What programs seem to work?
- What are other communities, cities, states and the federal government doing?
- Can you include NGOs and community groups in writing blogs or podcasts?
- How do organizations cooperate? What is their funding? What do they say about their success, failures, expectations?
- Consider how you can use youth media, community or crowd sourcing, bloggers and blog aggregators. How can you map your reporting? What audio-visual presence are you creating?