Welcome

JAYNE O'DONNELL
JAYNE O’DONNELL

Welcome from The Urban Health Media Project, a first-of-its-kind news and information resource. UHMP seeks to bring heat and light to an under-examined area — the physical, emotional and spiritual health challenges that particularly impact urban communities.

To undertake this unique assignment, the Urban Health Media Project has tapped a talent cohort with a unique perspective – 20 high school students who live, work and study in the heart of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. These teenagers will take the lead in reporting on the current state of urban health and likely long-term consequences.

Working with distinguished journalism professors at Howard University and Morgan State University, and with leading professional journalists, they will acquire the fundamentals of research, reporting and news writing, as well as the critical thinking that derives from those three disciplines. They will also learn to employ the latest in communication arts, including video production, smartphone photography and Instagram narrative building. State-of-the-art platforms for displaying this work will occupy a large space in their toolbox.

The students will learn their craft in an eight-month program that features three 10-week tutorials conducted at Howard and Morgan State with professors and professional journalists serving as hands-on classroom instructors and trainers. Classes will be conducted on 30 Saturdays divided into 10-week blocks. At least half of each Saturday will be spent outside the classroom, reporting, interviewing and shooting videos and photos that will be edited by our professional team.

The multimedia journalism will be featured on urbanhealthmedia.org, occasionally on usatoday.com and in a book to be published at year’s end. The students’ work product is also being made available to policymakers, academics and representatives of other media who may be searching for story leads in the area of urban health.

UHMP has several goals. Those include helping students build life skills, such as analytical thinking, which will serve them well no matter which career path they take. The self-esteem that comes from seeing your name on a piece of work, in the form of a byline or a production credit, is another part of the project’s payoff.

Then there are the stories themselves. It is hoped that they will prompt discussion and debate and ultimately lead to change by identifying problems and calling out possible solutions. This, the students have already learned, is a high goal of socially conscious journalism.

To be placed on the waiting list for this year’s Urban Health Media Project, or to inquire about applying to the 2017-2018 Urban Health Media Project, contact info@urbanhealthmedia.org.