Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GlobalGirl Media in Chicago

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chicago’s GlobalGirl Media (GGM) class begins with yoga and ends with hands-on youth journalism. The course teaches girls how to stretch their comfort zones, ask questions, find stories and share what they’ve learned with broader audiences, among others. According to Elizabeth Czekner, GGM program director, the girls have been arriving to the 4-week workshop around a half hour before class even starts—eager to get started each morning.

The McCormick Foundation-funded organization is dedicated to empowering girls from underserved communities around the world through media, leadership and journalistic training to have a voice in global issues. Chicago’s program, in partnership with Free Spirit Media (FSM) and Chicago Public Schools, launched July 9 and will consist of a four-week summer training academy designed to inspire community activism and social change through youth journalism.

Students who’ve expressed an interest in journalism and/or writing were chosen from schools around the city and range in age, from high school sophomores to seniors. By the end of the school year, the 15 students will complete a package of stories that will be featured on GGM’s website, including investigations into teen pregnancy, gun violence, health issues and the prison system.

“At this point, each of them has been in front of and behind the camera at least once,” Czekner said. “They’re in essence a news bureau.”

Along with GGM groups in Los Angeles, South Africa and Morocco, Chicago’s team has been having conversations about media and news literacy.

“The goal is that [the groups] start to collaborate as well as report on stories in their own neighborhoods,” Czekner said.

To do that, the girls in all three groups are trained in a wide variety of mediums, including print, broadcast, photography and online news. Each student maintains an ongoing blog where she records her experiences over the course of the school year.

“My teaching philosophy is theory and practice,” said GGM/FSM program coordinator Ovetta Sampson, an experienced journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The San Jose Mercury News, among others.
“I’m so proud of them because they’re doing it all.”

At the end of the day, the girls show how media-savvy and literate youth already are. As part of GGM, they’ll learn to focus that innate knowledge on their future pursuits.

According to 15-year-old J’doria Taylor, her particular goal for the school year is “to inform other people and let other teens know that they can do the same.” 

Check out the following pictures from out trip to GGM's week two workday at George Westinghouse College Prep High School. For more info, videos, pictures and stories from GGM please visit their website and/or blog.

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