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Youth Media Team Project (YMT)
for the United Nations World Youth Forum and World Conference of
Ministers Responsible for Youth
Young Media Partners (YMP). YMP is a worldwide not-for-profit membership
association of young journalists in broadcast, print and electronic
media. YMP was founded under Swiss law in 1997 with its headquarters
in Geneva, Switzerland. YMP has a branch in the United States, organized
as a not-for-profit organization in 2000 under California law. YMP's
membership of individual journalists (ages 15-25) and youth media
groups is rapidly expanding with focal points and regional branches
developing in many countries.
YMP's mission is to inform, educate, encourage and support young
people in developing and using their media skills to build a world
of peace, social justice and equality. It accomplishes this through
its Youth Media Intern Program (including its Summer Intern Program
in Geneva), projects of its Youth Media Team Program, encouraging
ethical and responsible journalism, and advocacy for inclusion of
young emerging journalists in youth and mainstream media.
Address and contact details
Debra Grant and Terrayne Crawford, Co-Founder/Directors
Palais des Nations, Salle de Presse 1
CH - 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 839 28 50
Fax: +41 22 840 10 25
School, Stroud, Gloucester, UK
Escola Secundaria No 1, Loures, Portugal
Youth Forum - Braga, Portugal (urban)
Ministerial Conference - Lisbon, Portugal (urban)
In the course of their work as journalists at the United Nations
in Geneva, the co-founder/directors of YMP, Terrayne Crawford and
Debra Grant learned that the United Nations was convening the World
Youth Forum of the United Nations System (WYFUNS) (2-7 August 1998,
Braga, Portugal) and World Conference of Ministers Responsible for
Youth (8-12 August 1998, Lisbon, Portugal).
YMP members had been invited to and participated in the previous
World Youth Forum of the United Nations System (WYFUNS) in Vienna,
Austria, as resource people in the Working Group on Youth and Communications
and as contributors to UNICEF's Voices of Youth website. YMP had
been successful in creating and facilitating several youth media
teams in the past, covering UN and other international conferences
on issues affecting the lives of children and youth worldwide. In
these projects, YMP involves local media and child/youth reporters
from the host country, as well as bringing together team members
representing diverse cultures and countries.
YMP's intergenerational advisory committee and its co-directors
made the decision to organize and facilitate a Youth Media Team
to cover both the Youth Forum and Ministerial Conference in Portugal,
in an effort to ensure that the concerns, issues, and projects of
children and youth were given sufficient coverage in the media,
especially from a youth perspective.
Contacts were made through its network of youth, youth organizations
and secondary schools, resulting in a school in the United Kingdom
and one in Portugal volunteering as partners in the project. A youth
facilitator worked with the YMP coordinators in preparing a proposal
for and in seeking funding, and in designing the project.
WYFUNS was convened by the United Nations in partnership with the
Portuguese National Youth Council. It brought together the United
Nations System, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental
organizations to discuss enhanced cooperation and communication
between the United Nations system and youth and their organizations,
and to co-manage follow-up projects.
Youth participants prepared a contribution to the World Conference
of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which was organized by the Government
of Portugal in cooperation with the United Nations. The Ministerial
Conference undertook the first global biennial review of the implementation
of the United Nations World Program of Action for Youth to the Year
2000 and Beyond.
Aims and objectives
To expand media coverage of these events and the issues
they addressed through youth-produced media products in broadcast,
print and electronic media.
To provide a means for the voices of youth to be heard within
and outside the conference venues (youth reporters as well as youth
activists involved with the events).
To teach the importance of responsible and ethical journalism.
To provide an opportunity for and to encourage and support
democratic participation of young people in the project.
To promote participation of girls in media awareness and
To provide a hands-on learning experience for young reporters
in an international and multicultural setting.
To help create greater awareness and acceptance of different
cultures by engaging youth from various regions in the world as
well as those in the host country.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of an intergenerational
To facilitate greater acceptance of youth-produced media
products in mainstream media.
To increase awareness of the human rights of children and
The Youth Media Team comprising two youth from Escola Secundaria
no. 1 de Loures (Portugal), two from Archway School, Stroud (UK)
and one from a youth organization in Mexico. All team members were
The Facilitation Team was an inter-generational team composed
of YMP's co-directors (Switzerland/USA), a media teacher (Portugal),
another from a children's NGO (non-governmental organization) (USA),
and a youth mentor from Canada. Their experience covered children
and youth participation and rights, media education and production,
graphic layout and design, and coordinating youth media teams.
Conference participants, members of youth organizations who did
not attend, youth-friendly media outlets and local media, including
those in Portugal. Particular attention was given to communities
represented by youth participants.
The youth and adults themselves who were involved with the project,
as well as youth and adult recipients of the material produced by
the Youth Media Team.
Involvement of children
The project was adult initiated and adult and child/youth facilitated.
Pre- conference, a youth facilitator was involved with adults in
designing the project, as well as drafting the proposal for the
project and obtaining funding from UNICEF. The youth also did their
own fundraising within their local communities for their participation
and made initial contacts with their local media for the project.
At the conferences, young people, as team members and mentors,
were involved in all aspects of decision-making as well as creating
and disseminating the media products. A process of discussion, consensus
building, volunteering and on-going evaluating was utilized for
achieving the goals of the project.
Summary of project
A formal invitation and application process was used by YMP for
selection of team members. Those who have worked on past YMP projects
were given first priority, with additional invitations extended
to international, regional and local youth organizations, schools
of journalism, secondary schools, and various websites that include
The main activities of the Youth Media Team were reporting on both
the Youth Forum and Ministerial Conference and producing articles
and photos for dissemination and publication in local and international
media. Team members were asked, in advance, to contact their local
newspapers, magazines, radio stations, Internet sites and television
stations to publish/broadcast material from the events generated
by the team. Through YMP's previously established network, as well
as new requests for material, contacts were made with mainstream
and youth media worldwide. These outlets were asked to publish articles
in their newspapers, magazines and websites.
The facilitators assessed team members' media skills, and the youth
were given hands-on assistance/training to strengthen their techniques
in interviewing, photography, writing and editing articles, and
video. They also received guidance in working as a productive team,
meeting deadlines, and in creating ethical and responsible media.
The UN Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) guided the rationale
for and operating principles of the Youth Media Team project, in
particular UNCRC Article 13:1:
The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this
right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally,
in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other
media of the child's choice.
This also includes Articles in these documents that encourage equality
and democratic participation of children and youth in a meaningful,
productive and interactive manner in addressing relevant issues
and concerns at local, national and international levels.
The project provided a concrete follow-up to the UN Committee on
the Rights of the Child theme day, entitled 'Children and Media',
held in October 1997, which recommended increased and appropriate
participation of children in the media.
The end products were:
Articles and photos The team submitted articles for
both the UNICEF's New York website Voices of Youth and its Geneva
regional office website. Articles were requested by, submitted to,
and published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (New
York) for their magazine, Populi, and the United Nations
Department of Public Information (DPI) (New York) for Development
Update. The InterPressService (IPS) published an article
by one of the Portuguese youth correspondents. Articles were also
published in newspapers/newsletters in their local communities.
Video The overall experience was documented on video
by one of the youth from the UK, including workshops, plenaries,
social activities and interviews with participants.
Press Pak A media kit, which the Youth Media Team
developed and distributed to youth NGOs and members of UN agencies
at the end of the conference, to facilitate further outreach of
the results of the two meetings and to continue a dialogue on the
The partners from both schools were engaged in the initial stages
of announcing the project, encouraging students to apply as members
of the team, exploring funding, as well as helping with distribution
of the media products in the local community. A media teacher from
the Portuguese school participated as a mentor on the Facilitation
Team. Both schools gave recognition to those chosen as members of
the Youth Media Team.
UNICEF was one of the major
contributors of funding towards the project budget. Youth Media
Team members covered the majority of their expenses for travel,
accommodation and food, raising funds through their schools, families,
The Portuguese students and teacher provided accommodation for
the team during a portion of the project. The Portuguese
National Youth Council (Conselho nacional de Juventude) offset
some expenses of Portuguese YMT members.
The YMP coordinators and project partners volunteered their time
and covered their own expenses for travel, accommodation and food.
Youth Media Team project budget
Facilitating organization fees
Equipment and materials - computers, printer, micro-cassette
recorders, video camera/tripod, scanner, digital cameras,
micro-cassetteaudiotapes, Hi-8 or digital videotapes, notepads,
pens, paper, diskettes
Post conference video (20 minutes)/
Strengths of project
The positive experience that the project created for the youth
involved was its most important strength. The Youth Media Team gave
young people from different cultures and nations a successful and
empowering hands-on learning experience in media at major international
events. The project provided a significant opportunity for team
members to work together in a democratic and supportive environment
- sharing, through the media, the social, cultural, economic and
political issues discussed at the conferences and of significance
to their lives and future. Even with budget limitations, the project
achieved its aims and objectives.
Youth Media Team members said they had a wonderful experience.
They were particularly pleased to be able to participate as part
of a multicultural team learning from their peers and mentors, as
well as interviewing people from many countries - youth, ministers
and representatives from UN agencies - working in different languages
and meeting deadlines. They did extremely well and did much to further
the idea that young people (especially teenage girls) can be responsible,
serious, and still have fun with the energy required for it all.
Through its work on this particular project YMP initiated ongoing
collaboration with both schools involved and with UNICEF, and brought
the team members into a wider network of youth journalists. Several
team members joined the next YMP Youth Media Team project attending
and reporting on the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference in the Netherlands.
Funding was not provided until after the project was completed,
making it necessary for project organizers to cover costs in advance
and limit the size of the team.
Funding received was insufficient to cover entire proposed
Funding limitations prevented the Facilitation Team from
travelling to Portugal prior to the conference to prepare more adequately
for the Youth Media Team. Team members were scheduled to arrive
in Braga two days before the conferences began, for orientation
and training, particularly relevant to covering such events.
1. Travel between Braga and Lisbon.
2. Limited accommodation in Braga and Lisbon.
Lack of equipment and limited on-site facilities for media representatives
(computers/printers/Internet access) at both conferences made it
impossible for the Young Media Partners website to be fully operational
during the conferences. For this reason it was not possible for
the YMP website to act as a newswire service as planned.
Inconsistent Internet access at both conference sites.
There was no formal evaluation of the project by an outside agency.
Opportunity was given at the end of the conference for the team
members to evaluate their own as well as the facilitators'/mentors'
participation, the process itself, and the quality and number of
products produced and disseminated.
Youth members of the team said they learned to do networking; improved
their skills in interviewing, writing, editing and photographing;
and gained greater self-esteem and confidence in their abilities
as budding professional journalists. They also experienced an increase
in their awareness of and appreciation for different cultures, as
well as the work of the UN system for youth. They were disappointed
that there were not more media representatives present, feeling
this was due to a lack of interest in issues affecting children
and youth. The youth expressed a sense of gratitude for the care
and respect the facilitators gave them and for the lessons they
learned. The adults on the team shared their delight in the young
reporters' creativity, enthusiasm, effective teamwork and quality
There was positive feedback from several representatives of UN
agencies and other officials involved with the events who remarked
on the professionalism of the young journalists. Several times the
young reporters made up the majority of journalists at a given press
conference and were viewed as serious reporters asking well-informed
questions. There was also good feedback from publishers of their
A dossier of material produced by the Youth Media Team was submitted
Supported the belief of the co-directors that children and
youth, given the opportunity and assistance, can cooperate and work
effectively as members of an international and multicultural team
in producing quality media products.
Gave further support for YMP's approach of utilizing an
intergenerational facilitating team as an effective method for designing
and implementing a project with youth. Successful youth participation
does not always occur spontaneously - many young people would like
more guidance and support from experienced peers and adults in the
More advanced planning is needed - at least one year ahead.
A larger number and more diverse group of youth could have been
involved in creating greater media outreach if the project had been
Even with limited funding and time, a well-executed project
can have a positive impact.
Demonstrated the effectiveness of partnerships between the
UN and its agencies, non-governmental organizations, youth and adults,
and the media.
Beneficial to have partnering organizations involved with
youth to seek out and support involvement of their own youth in
A project like the Youth Media Team:
gives visibility to youth journalists as they carry on their
tasks within their local communities as well as at international
leads to greater support in the local community for young
people as well as encouraging more support by donors for work with
youth and media;
gives an opportunity for youth to be taken seriously by
adults (including adult journalists) and other youth as they are
seen participating in important events in a substantive way;
leads to more invitations for meaningful participation of
youth (and young journalists).
promotes youth as producers of ethical and responsible media;
assists in creating a more positive image of youth in media
inspires more youth to get involved by giving them positive
role models and helps them to see the value of their own participation;
demonstrates the effectiveness of intergenerational teams
in a project (adults-youth/youth mentors-younger youth);
helps give young people a sense of belonging to a worldwide
The following interview extract illustrates youth participation
in action. Marta Santos Pais (Director, Division of Evaluation,
Policy and Planning, UNICEF, New York) interviewed by Catarina Ramao
Martins (aged 16), Young Media Partners correspondent at the World
Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, 12 August
1998, Lisbon, Portugal.
Question So as we see, youth have capacities and they can
explore them. But supposing that the governments really get to implement
the youth policies on global, national, or regional levels, do you
believe that the mentality of the population is prepared to accept
youth capacities in participation?
Answer The big challenge is to convince the adults that
it is important to give a voice to youth and to listen to their
opinions, not in a passive way - giving them the opportunity to
express themselves and then not taking into account that opinion.
On the contrary, they must respect both the points that can be discussed
and ones that can't. And they must explain the reason why they can't
be followed, because participation is a learning process, both to
the youth that propose an idea, and to the adults who have the power
to make the decision and can have the decision enriched by a process
of dialogue and negotiation. This is valid between groups, youth
associations and governmental entities, and also valid at a school
level between professors and students. In the same way it is valid
in the family, which is the first cell where the democratic experience
can take place and in which parents can have a fundamental role,
because they must guide their children and support the development
of their children and youth.
Question What is the major resistance to youth participation?
Answer It depends on the region, the country, the age, and
one's own family. I think that the main problem is to recognize
that youth are persons and as persons they have fundamental rights
and when we overcome that barrier, we don't look at children and
youth as passive elements that should benefit from protection and
have nothing to say. If we can overcome that barrier, which is much
more concerning mentality than a practical impediment, youth will
be able to participate in a better and more efficient manner and
have more trust in being able to participate. They will feel like
they have something to bring and that something can have a practical
follow-up in the adoption of policies by local governments, municipalities,
or even by schools.
Press Pak, a media kit which the Youth Media Team developed and
distributed to youth NGOs and members of UN agencies at the end
of the conference, to facilitate further outreach of the results
of the two meetings and to continue a dialogue on the issues.
The Press Pak included five one-page examples of media outreach
ideas and suggestions for the youth to spread the information about
the events in their country. Some key documents and selected articles
from the Youth Media Team were also attached.
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