Philadelphia Youth Media Collaborative

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Youth Media featured in national conversation at the Alliance for Community Media conference

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Following is  a report back from the Alliance for Community Media Conference in San Francisco, in which youth media discussions helped build the national movement. Supported by a PYMC Project Stipend, David Cooper Moore was present to facilitate and participate on behalf of PYMC and the National Alliance for Media Literacy Education.

On thursday, May 30, David Cooper Moore of the Center for Media and Information Literacy facilitated an engaging roundtable discussion on the future of national support for youth media at the Alliance for Community Conference in San Francisco, CA.

The conversation revolved around challenges and opportunities that a variety of youth media groups have had in sustaining national support through professional associations. Representatives from the Alliance for Community Media, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education were at the table to listen and learn from a variety of youth media scholars, organizers, facilitators, and others.

Joining the panel were:

Jeff Arthur, a coordinator at the Intel Clubhouse Network. Intel Clubhouses have served as one model for national and international field-building through their “clubhouse” affiliation system.

Lora Taub, a professor of communication at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, director of the HYPE youth media program, and most recently the new editor of Youth Media Reporter, the professional journal of the youth media community in the United States.

Kassandra VerBrugghen, founder and executive director of SpyHop, a youth media organization based in Utah. VerBrugghen has also been a key facilitator of the NAMAC “Connector Sessions,” which have helped build the field through online professional development events.

Rosey Robards (Executive Director) and Robert Stormo (Assistant Director) of the Alaska Teen Media Institute. They discussed how regional and national partnerships can best address the needs of areas outside of major urban centers.

Robyn Bykofsky, Media Education Director of TILT Media in San Francisco and a member of the Bay Area Youth Media Network. Bykofsky shared her experience and also participated in a related panel on regional collectives — including the Philadelphia Youth Media Collaborative.

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, a representative of NAMAC, helpfully took extensive session notes, which are available here:

http://namac.org/idea-exchange/national-field-building-youth-media-acm-conference-live-blog

The conversation revealed lots of challenges but just as many opportunities in national field-building within the youth media field. Panelists and audience members alike joined in a lively conversation about persistent issues and new opportunities in the youth media field.

Youth media practitioners from New York City to Hawaii shared concerns about the logistics of partnership. PYMC and other regional collaboratives might be helpful in compiling a set of best practices around regional partnerships that would help other areas of the US not in major urban centers link in to the conversation.

Professional resources like Youth Media Reporter, the NAMAC Connectors Sessions, and new PD outreach efforts from NAMLE would raise the visibility of youth media organizations to the field as a whole. Lora Taub discussed lots of opportunities for the re-launch of Youth Media Reporter to serve a role in shaping and amplifying discussions in the youth media field.

Finally, national associations could be key leaders in aggregating, curating, and getting word out about youth media initiatives, as well as providing leadership in curriculum and evaluation. NAMAC’s national youth media list serv and new conversation series have already helped to raise visibility of youth media practices and connection to K-12 curriculum. NAMLE’s work on aligning youth media work with the Common Core Standards (which will be showcased at this year’s NAMLE conference: http://namle.net/conference/) will be a resource to help youth media practitioners speak to new communities of schools, teachers, librarians, and technology coordinators.

Above all else, the conversation — one of many discussions and screenings of youth media at the ACM conference — is a reminder of the ongoing vitality and importance of the youth media field.

– Written by David Cooper Moore

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