Making Trouble: Youth Storm the Media

| November 21, 2001

Making Trouble: Youth Storm the Media, Nell Geiser,
Teens are taking media activism to the streets--and they are getting results. Hosted on the Web site with permission from FAIR, Nell Geiser, a mere high-schooler herself, examines the trend of media-savvy youth influencing media with direct action and creativity. Pointing out examples such as highly organized responses to California's Proposition 21, Geiser notes that, 'Exploited as consumers and framed as criminals, teens are stuck in a media-constructed box.' All over the country youth are fighting back--with zines, Web sites, spectacle, and other low-budget methods to influence existing media and create alternatives. For example, Youth Force, a South Bronx-based high school group, teamed up with We Interrupt This Message, a national media strategy center, to take New York Times editors to task for the way they represented teens in the newspaper. The groups' report exposed the fact that the Times primarily portrayed youth as the perpetrators of violent crime when they are, in fact, 12.5 times more likely to be victims. As Geiser points out, 'Youth media activism is gaining steam, and it is clear that when young people become the media their organizing is ever more powerful'.
--Lindsey Dickinson
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