In July 2012 the Media Arts Center San Diego, with funding from The California Endowment, hosted a three-day boot camp to train Southern California youth journalists how to effectively tell individual stories within a community context. The boot camp was based on the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) model for its Youth Advocacy Boot Camp held in April 2012 (and annual Producer’s Institute) in San Francisco. Seventeen youth from San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, South Kern and Coachella wrote blogs on issues in their home communities and co-produced radio and video pieces about Healthy Neighborhoods, School Meals and School Discipline in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.
Youth participants were affiliated with BAVC, New America Media, AjA Project, Coachella Unincorporated, Boyle Heights Beat, South Kern Sol, Voicewaves and Venice Arts – with mentors from these organizations as well as Berkeley Studies Media Group, KPBS San Diego, The San Diego Union Tribune, Voices of San Diego and NBC Universal. In addition to learning media production and journalism skills, students gained an understanding of the news cycle and developed important media literacy skills such as how to craft effective pitches for different types of media outlets.
Students conceived, produced, edited, and made deployment plans for the following community health themes:
- “Skate City Heights,” a video produced by Phuc Nguyen, Arturo Martinez and Jocelyn Ramirez with Frank Luna of Media Arts Center San Diego.
- “Digging In,” a video produced by Ivan Degado and Dasire’e Norman with mentor Christian Rozier of Venice Arts.
- “Green Space,” a video produced by Alejandra Alarcon and Rico Blevins with mentors Kris Rivera and Jessica Perez of Boyle Heights Beat.
- “Combatting Asthma with Community Action,” a radio segment with photos produced by Aurora Saldivar and Yazmin Nunez with mentor Antonio Ruizof Voicewaves.
- “Open Spaces and Places,” a radio segment produced by Jesus Hernandez with mentor Jose-Luis Jimenez of KPBS.
- “Practice Makes Perfect: A Skate Park for City Heights,” a radio segment produced by Melissa Martinez with mentor Jose-Luis Jimenez of KPBS.
- “Tennis Courts Keep Youth Away from Dangers,” by Jesus Hernandez, age 23, Long Beach, CA. Voicewaves.
- “The Story of Byron Wilson,” by Rico Faithful Blevins, age 17, Long Beach, CA.Voicewaves and Long Beach Community Action Partnership.
- “Unincorporated But Worth Fighting For, “Alejandra Alarcon, age 18, Eastern Coachella Valley, CA. Coachella Unincorporated.
The federal government sets rules that define what foods and how much can be served to kids at school. This summer, new standards will require school meals to be healthier, with more fruits and vegetables and less greasy food like French fries. For many kids, this is their main meal of the day, so the new rules can have a big impact on the health of kids in California. School cafeterias will need to buy and cook different kinds of foods to meet the new rules. The projects produced under this theme raise awareness of one school that is working hard to ensure healthy menus will be enjoyed, and not wasted.
- “A Diet For Healthy Minds,” a video produced by Erin Timoney and John Field with mentor Paolo Zuniga of Media Arts Center San Diego.
It used to be that being suspended or expelled only happened in response to very serious actions such as carrying a weapon or selling drugs at school. But today, suspensions happen frequently for misbehavior that is not dangerous. More than 40% of suspensions in California are for defiance – talking back to the teacher, swearing or being disruptive. California schools issue more than 700,000 suspensions each year. The research clearly shows that suspension not only harms individual kids who fall behind, but overuse of suspensions doesn’t make schools safer or students more successful. The California legislature is considering five new laws aimed at reducing suspensions and expulsions, and promoting positive alternatives. Projects produced under this theme aim to make parents, voters and lawmakers more aware of this problem.
Radio and Video Projects:
- “Expelling School Discipline,” a video produced by Andres Garcia and Rosa Solache with mentor Jazmin Jones of BAVC.
- “Youth Advisory Panels Defy School Suspension Rates,” a radio segment produced by Oscar Perez and Gibran Moncayo with mentor Ian Davis of BAVC.
- “Denied Opportunities with a Hope for a New Possibility, “by Gibran Moncayo, 19, South Kern, CA. South Kern Sol.