Making Trouble: Youth Storm the Media

Making Trouble: Youth Storm the Media,
Nell Geiser, MediaRights.org
Teens are taking media activism to the streets–and they are
getting results. Hosted on the MediaRights.org 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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