Oakland to Atwater – youth journalism exchange

“West Oakland to Atwater, and Back”

Youth Journalism Exchange Project

Concept Developer: Brian Beveridge, bbeveridge@paradigmthree.com

This is draft concept document inspired by discussions at the “Media That Matters” conference in St. Louis in April, 2006. Any and all ideas, suggestions, wisdom or support is more than welcome. – Brian Beveridge, Oakland CA.

This project will enable young people in two seemingly very different American communities to share their perspectives on self, family community and the world. Their stories will provide insight to both communities, and the world at large, when simultaneously published in both local newspapers and distributed on the worldwide web.

Through this project, these two communities will gain greater understanding of the differences, and similarities, between small towns and urban neighborhoods in America. It will bring communities together while it fosters a new generation of writers, readers, and storytellers.

West Oakland, Ca.
• Population about 22,000
• Ethnic mix by ratio is:
o African-American (34%)
o Latino (32%)
o White (20%)
o Asian (12%)
o Pacific Islander (about 1%)
o Native American (.25%)
• Area about four square miles
• Median income is about $30,000 compared to the regional median of $80,000.
• Only about 40% of residents can afford median rent
• One high school with a graduation rate of about 50%

Atwater, Mn.
• Population (year 2000): 1,079, Est.
• Land area: 1.0 square miles
• Median household income: $39,265 (year 2000)
Median house value: $66,900 (year 2000)
• Races in Atwater:
o White Non-Hispanic (97.8%),
o Hispanic (1.3%),
o Two or more races (0.8%),
o Other race (0.7%)
• Ancestries: German (46.3%), Norwegian (25.9%), Swedish (22.1%), Irish (7.9%), English (5.0%), Danish (4.1%).

How could kids in these two communities possibly have anything in common? We can find out if we help them tell their stories.

The participating student will be provided with the knowledge and tools to report on their communities through written word, photojournalism, audio or video documentary.

Basic elements of the project may include:
• Some journalism curriculum in the participating schools
o Fact-finding and reporting
o Ethics
o Storytelling for newspaper and documentary
• Partnering students with professional journalists
• Assignments based on common themes
o My family – “What is a family?”
o A neighborhood leader – “Who do we respect?”
o My friends
o A portrait of my neighborhood
o Important issues in my community
o Me
“Fitting In and Acting Out”§
“How I fit, what I want,§ where I’m going”
“Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll”§
• All media acceptable
o Print
o Audio documentary
o Video documentary
• Stories published side-by-side in both local newspapers and on the web.
• Electronic journalism pieces might be broadcast on local public radio and TV, and web-cast.

Oakland, CA.
• Oakland Tribune
• KTVU-TV, Fox affiliate – Oakland
• McClymond’s High School – West Oakland
• DUSTY – youth audio storytelling program – West Oakland
• KALW – Berkeley community radio
• KTOP – Oakland community television
• Peralta College Journalism program
• U.C. Berkeley School of Journalism

Atwater, MN.
• Atwater Sunfish Gazette
• Atwater High School
• Minn. Public Media
• Minneapolis Star Tribune
• Local Public Radio
• Local broadcast television stations

POSSIBLE MODELS: Similar Projects
“Bridges” – Memphis, TN. – Jim Boyd’s project
“Jordan to Vermont” video documentary exchange project – Media Giraffe

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