This week at the Youth Media Project (YMP), students focused on digital storytelling.
Earlier in the program, YMP students were assigned to specific groups with four other students. In the last few weeks of the program, students have brainstormed issues relevant to their communities. On Monday, groups finalized project topics and began the rigorous approach to a news package. Each group will produce a news package by the end of the program in early August, which will include a lengthy feature news article on a specific topic with 5-7 photographs, a mini documentary, and a podcast.
Topics include the Woolworth Sit-In, mis-education, minority-owned businesses, a systems analysis of youth crime in the capital city, and re-entry programs for youth exonerees. All student-led work will be solutions journalism reporting on these and other social issues affecting Mississippi communities.
To prepare for solutions-focused work, students are taught digital storytelling using resources from the PBS Learning Media curriculum. Digital technology allows students to report on personal experiences in their communities to create powerful, compelling stories.
This week began with defining digital storytelling, exploring the tools and resources for production, and then building video literacy. Trainers introduced video to students through compelling mini documentaries that spurred critical thinking, challenged stereotypes, and presented big ideas. During the films, students took notes on a PBS viewing guide. After watching and reflecting on multiple films, students met in groups to storyboard their own future mini documentaries. Groups then went with trainers into downtown Jackson to shoot b-roll footage.
On Wednesday, Dr. Wilma E. Mosley Clopton, Ph.D., a local Jackson filmmaker and creator of NMHS Unlimited Film Productions, joined YMP students and trainers for a filmmaking workshop. She brought films created by Jackson State University students to teach and inspire YMP students planning mini documentaries. Clopton also worked with students on film research and sourcing.
Before students move to drafting and then eventually rewriting on their specific topics, they will continue to research and organize their projects. YMP trainers, professionals in the tech industry, and outside experts mentor students during the entirety of the group projects until completion. The group projects are only one aspect of the YMP program, though. Students frequently post blogs and more intensive journalism work.
You can follow student voices online as they continue to publish their stories.