Creating a video for tight-space exercise, inventing a robot to help caregivers and showing how to help older adults are just some of the ways teenagers are making a difference during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Since mid April, the assignment to teenage journalists in 19 countries has been to cover the untold stories of how their peers are helping both potential and current victims of the virus and their caregivers. The project will continue “until it’s not needed anymore.”
The goal is to combat what we at Global Youth & News Media see as the prevailing image these days of teenagers as either careless beach frolickers who bring the virus home or as bored couch-sitters who think about only themselves.
Teenage journalists in both student-run and adult-run newsrooms can still join the project by contacting globalyouthandnewsmedia [at] gmail.com. The next showcase of stories will go live on 4 June.
Top contributors have been two Indian student newsrooms, The Global Times at Amity International School in New Delhi and YOCee.in in Chennai, The Young Post at South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and The Eagle Eye of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (Florida), USA. The main media partner is News Decoder.
“This project helps to highlight the role that youth plays in contributing to society, and in changing the world, “ says Melissa Falkowski, advisor to The Eagle Eye and 2019 National Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Amity International’s founder, Amita Chauhan, sees an even more ambitious outcome and the project as creating “a unique journalistic primer” to help shape the world post COVID-19.
The benefit is also more immediate. A considerable body of research has found that in a crisis, those who are helping somehow remain in better psychological shape than those who do not.
Dara Rosen, editor of The Eagle Eye, sees the project as having "the potential to encourage others to do something positive with their time in quarantine/lockdown."
Melissa Falkowski concurs and sees a more personal benefit for the reporters: “For student journalists that are stuck at home, this project gives them something to do. In my experience with trauma, having something to do and the ability to write about stories related to the trauma you have experienced or are experiencing can be very healing.”
-- Aralynn Abare McMane, director, Global Youth & News Media. A slightly different version of this story appears on LinkedIn.