Star Porras and Arabesque Lynaolu of AccessLocal participating in a workshop. Photo by YR Media.

During President’s Day Weekend 2019, sixteen,youth media organizations gathered together for the California Statewide Youth Media Conference. The Conference mainly organized by youth representatives of participating organizations and was held at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland.

There, attendees participated in various ice breaker activities, workshops, and listened to an array of accomplished speakers. Youth reporters had the chance to network and learn from professionals in the same field, one of the most important goals of the conference.
Opportunities for youth to be listened to limited, and many do not have platforms to discuss what they find important to themselves and their communities.This is why the conference was crucial for youth in programs that voices to attend. It gave youth the opportunity to take charge and show their adult allies what it is they want to discuss and learn about. This was exactly why the event was planned by a group of youth over the course of about seven months on the conference’s Youth Advisors Planning Committee.

The workshops and speeches covered an array of important topics on journalism and were taught by esteemed journalists. Workshops covered an array of platforms and topics such as poetry, documentary production, live field reporting, using social media, the illustration of stories and different tactics to cover all types of reporting.

“These types of conferences, I really take to heart,” 24 year old Mitzi Perez told us. “It’s really important for young folks to be able to report on what they experience in their own communities. A lot of our stories are written from outsiders who don’t understand what’s really going on inside.”

“It was a really difficult process,” said Eli Meza, Youth Advisor Planning Committee member. “But it was extremely worth it. We were able to brainstorm ideas of what we wanted and work from that over the course of seven months. The entire conference that attendees experienced was what we had spent months saying we wanted. It was nice to see it become a reality.”

The conference was a success and incredible experience for all organizations involved, and we at Access Local cannot wait to attend the next one! Be on the lookout for new projects from YR Media and if you would like to learn more about them, click the following link.