Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wealthy Donors Fund New Journalism Projects

I’m envious of the new non-profit journalism start-ups with their million dollar endowments. I guess 22 years of great journalism doesn’t count if the writers are teenagers. Too bad these rich, generous donors haven’t read our excellent stories, they would see how young, well-trained journalists have an impact.

As a community leader, L.A. Youth has relationships with mainstream media, both print and broadcast. As a result, policy makers have had to respond to the spotlight placed on difficult issues that affect teens. L.A. Youth shows teens that they can improve their own lives and play an important role in improving their schools and communities. Examples of L.A. Youth articles that served this purpose include:

• An investigative article on teens incarcerated in California mental hospitals without due process that prompted state legislation to address the problem.
• An examination of conditions impeding education at Marshall High School in Los Angeles that prompted a school district investigation and resulted in the author being chosen to serve on the selection committee for a new school district superintendent.
• An article investigating police brutality in the Los Angeles Police Department that was picked up by CBS News.
• A first-person account of life on the streets by a homeless teen that drew attention from the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio and social service agencies concerned about homeless youth.

We, too, would benefit from the generosity of strangers.

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