When Teens Own a Part of the Newspaper

Scheid, Lisa
December 2003
Nieman Reports;Winter2003, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p6
The section presents and article on the actions taken by a newspaper to target young readers by featuring issues on teenagers and were written by teenagers. Circulation has increased during the eight years since "Voices" was launched as a section of a newspaper. Newspaper Association of America's research showed 66 percent of teens in the county had read the section in the last five years from 1998. Without teenagers feeling that the section belongs to them, it becomes in their mind just another adult perpetuating stereotypes about them. There are shared stories about discovering factual errors just before a section was to be published. Without being willing to change and explore ways of reaching out to new readers, it was hard for an editor to see the step as positive. It was writing for teenagers, not writing about teenagers, that really changed how a journalist view journalism. And as it gets harder to be admitted to elite schools and universities and pay the cost of going there, parents are putting more pressure on some students to do activities that might lead to scholarships. Working for a newspaper can be an uncomfortable place even for teenage writers. INSET: Conventional Views a Teen Section Editor Must Break.


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