Brie Zeltner, Youthcast Media Group™
To a student journalist, there’s little more exciting than the day your byline appears in a big media outlet for the first time. For four YMG students, that day was Sunday, June 5, when their story on the impact of climate change on Miami residents ran in the Miami Herald.
“A Climate of Health,” our spring feature writing workshop, involved nine students working in three regional teams tackling the topic of the intersection of climate change and community health where they live. The team that focused on Miami’s struggles included YMG’s first student journalist from Hawaii and examined the phenomenon of “climate gentrification” whereby high-ground neighborhoods like Little Haiti, populated historically by low-income people of color, have become suddenly desirable due to rising sea levels — pushing out many who can’t afford the rising home prices.
The second story completed during the workshop by Jalynn Charity, Zioni Moore and Joy Li was published on DC Line in September 2022.
It was another resounding success for our virtual writing workshop, with praise from all our participants. Some examples from their evaluations:
- “Not only were my expectations met, they were surpassed.”
- “I feel like I genuinely learned so much beyond what my story was about, and outside of this class my editing and writing skills have grown extensively.”
- “I learned a lot about journalism from a different POV and I was able to learn more about climate journalism. I met a lot of great teachers and adults who were able to educate me more on climate change. I enjoyed learning about writing as a whole as well.”
Immediately after the climate workshop, we offered our first-ever “Canva for Social Media Journalism” training, designed to help students familiar with the graphic design platform learn how to use it to create short videos to inform people about health topics on social media.
Nine students took our climate workshop stories and made creative, informative pieces that we’re running on our social accounts and offering to publications to help promote the stories when they’re published. You can see some of their work that accompanied the Miami Herald story on Twitter and on Instagram– and use the opportunity to like and follow our accounts!
The Canva class was only two weeks long, but our students showed great improvements in almost all of our learning measures. Even more importantly, they had a lot of fun learning from each other as a group, as was reflected in their work and their feedback.
The class was so successful, and so helpful in creating the social content that we need to get our stories out to a wider audience, that we’ll be coupling this training with all our writing workshops in the future.
We expect to have just as much fun in the fall– so stay tuned for our writing workshop topic, and news about more exciting YMG programs to come!