In an era when questionable or even false journalism regularly assaults the public, the act of rewarding and reinforcing good news media practice can offer both hope for the public and also emulation by other news outlets. Such an approach is especially crucial when it involves young audiences (people ages 13 to 25) who are forming their opinions about what to believe, whom to trust and what kind of citizen they will become.
Prize directors Aralynn McMane, a youth engagement and media literacy expert, and Jo Weir, a media development expert, founded the award to fill a gap they saw in bringing international recognition to news organizations that take young people seriously and then also take action that is both effective and innovative. They invited News-Decoder, part of the French non-profit Nouvelles Découvertes where they sit on the board, to become the first supporter. “This award fits our mission perfectly,” said Nelson Graves, founder of Nouvelles Découvertes, “and we look forward to the next installments.” The European Journalism Centre soon came on board, followed by The Google News Initiative.
The resulting Global Youth & News Media Prize honours organizations that innovate as they strengthen engagement between news media and young people while reinforcing the role of journalism in society. In short, we are celebrating news media work that serves, supports and both attracts and learns from young audiences.
In addition, we have begun to help news media do such initiatives. Our first action was the World Teenage Reporting Project, beginning in April 2020, which encouraged selected news media (both adult- and student-run) around the world that worked with teenage journalists to assign them to cover the untold stories of their counterparts who were helping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Details are under "Projects."