Youth Share Their Voice In Reporting

posted Oct 29, 2013, 10:03 AM by BHC Staff   [ updated Oct 29, 2013, 10:04 AM ]
Originally printed in The Triplicate on July 28, 2012
In the back room of Del Norte Unified School District’s Instructional Media Center (IMC), the sounds of teen pop can be heard as you walk into the Youth News Network (YNN) Studios. The control manager, Ron Gastineau, welcomes you to their “humble studios.” With a handful of computers, cameras, audio recording equipment, and lights provided by Rural Human Services (RHS) and The California Endowment through the Building Healthy Communities initiative, the once unused media space is now full of teen spirit. Youth are handed their own messenger bags, business cards, 
name-tags and official YNN polo shirts. Supplied with official YNN gear, the youth will begin to create stories and share their perspective on local health issues. 

For the past month, 20 teens have been meeting regularly at the IMC to learn about media broadcasting. The youth are placed into 3 teams led by First 5 ServiceCorps VISTA Member Rose Munger, filmmaker Aaron Hamrick, RHS’ s Youth Crew Leader, and Ron Gastineau. Together they have been training the youth in the art of story- telling through video, audio, and traditional writing. “We are giving them vital skills,” Hamrick explains. “We are teaching them job skills, like showing up for work on time. But also wanting them to take interest in their community.”

To begin their journey The Berkeley Media Studies Group led a 2-day work- shop where the youth “reporters” learned about framing stories to create social change. With each new training, provided by local media outlets, the youth are learning more about social advocacy, media reporting and storytelling. 

“We are striving to make meeting dead- lines a real important issue,” Aaron says. “Deadlines are everything in this indus- try; it’s how you get paid.” Stressing the importance of work ethic and professionalism helps the youth see the program as more than just a summer job. In fact this is the groundwork for YNN to be a year- long project with reports to be posted on YouTube, Facebook and eventually iTunes Podcasts. “We eventually want to be reporting the local news, events and issues that concern youth,” Gastineau ex- plained. “It is really a way to insure that the young people of Del Norte have a voice that is heard” he added.

Whatever may happen, the youth are excited to share their voices and perspectives on Del Norte County and show off their new reporter “gear.” 

Building Healthy Communities is a 10- year initiative of The California Endowment. Del Norte and its Adjacent Tribal Lands is one of fourteen communities across the state where residents are taking action to make where they live healthier. Good health doesn’t begin in a doctor’ s office; health happens in neighborhoods, schools and with prevention. Together we are creating a community where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn by working to decrease childhood obesity and youth violence, and increase school attendance and access to quality health care. For more in- formation, please call 707-465-1238 or visit
BHC Staff,
Oct 29, 2013, 10:03 AM