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Life After Youth Media: Insights about Program Influence into Adulthood

April 29, 2014

* Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?* If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?* How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?* Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.

Media Access and Policy

Life After Youth Media: Insights about Program Influence into Adulthood, Executive Summary

April 29, 2014

Do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors imparted in youth programs "stick" into adulthood?If they do, how do they manifest in career, education, and life decisions?How do the skills, attitudes, and behaviors that youth programs try to impart differ based on program intensity or levels of engagement?Do these elements look different for people who went through youth media programs versus people who went through other types of youth programs?These are common questions that youth program providers, funders, public officials, and other leading thinkers regularly wrestle with. This report, funded by The Robert. R. McCormick Foundation, tells the story of a group in Chicago committed to providing quality youth media programming in the city and how, through a collective evaluation, they were able to begin to answer these critical questions.

From Page to Stage to Screen and Beyond

November 7, 2012

A group of Chicago youth media organizations have embarked on an evaluation process with adult program alumni to assess the degree to which hands-on media production and dissemination contributes to developing productive, independent, and engaged citizens. This report sets the stage for the evaluation, which began in late 2012 and will run through 2013, highlighting the work of youth media organizations in Chicago and exploring six dimensions, or outcome areas, that youth media organizations work within: journalism skills, news/media literacy, civic engagement, career development, youth development, and youth expression.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Access and Policy

News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicago's Information Landscape

July 13, 2011

The Community News Matters project of The Chicago Community Trust conducted surveys and focus groups of the general public, local leaders and low-income residents to assess the level to which critical information needs of democracies are being well-met in the Chicago region and to identify critical information gaps and deficiencies in Chicago's information landscape that may need to be addressed.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Access and Policy

Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites

April 1, 2011

The mass media model, which sustained news and information in communities like Chicago for decades, is being replaced by a "new news ecosystem" consisting of hundreds of websites, podcasts, video streams and mobile applications. In 2009, The Chicago Community Trust set out to understand this ecosystem, assess its health and make investments in improving the flow of news and information in Chicagoland. The report you are reading is one of the products of the Trust's local information initiative, Community News Matters. "Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites" is one of the first -- perhaps the first -- research projects seeking to understand a locala

Today's Youth Making Themselves Heard

October 27, 2010

Youth is an important time in the life of an individual. As a distinct stage in the life cycle, this period is not only defined by age, but also by a set of developmental tasks, such as finishing school, starting work, moving out of the parental home and starting a family, that reflect societal norms and expectations. But large economic and social transformations and the recent recession in the U.S. fundamentally altered the conditions under which young people are growing up because they affected their ability to achieve a level of economic security sufficient to start a life of their own. Despite this emerging consensus in the contemporary youth literature however, we currently have very limited knowledge about how certain groups of young people and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds are faring under conditions of growing uncertainty. The Chicago Youth Voices Network (CYVN) set out to ask young people in Chicago directly about their concerns, worries and hopes.CYVN consists of eleven city-wide youth media organizations that collaborated over the course of one year to engage youth in online polling and social media tools to create their own stories and provide a means for sharing them with the larger community. The project combines elements of pedagogy (social media training), research (develop and conduct a poll) and action (media production) in a unique way that allows young people to be meaningfully involved in every step along the way and thus, distinguishes it from conventional, primarily adults-driven research agendas. While such an approach certainly violates some basic academic rules of conduct, it provides a unique and fascinating window into the lived experience of disadvantaged youth in Chicago. Media based on this research can be viewed at http://nuf-said.org/media-browser/

The NEW News 2010: The Second Annual Survey of the Chicago Area's Online News Ecosystem

August 5, 2010

Presents results of a survey of Chicago online news sites about their activities, content, platforms, parent organizations, partnerships, staffing, and sources of funding. Includes video interviews, data on online visitors, and list and map of sites.

The New News: Journalism We Want and Need

June 3, 2009

Economic pressures on one hand and continuing democratization of news on the other have already changed the news picture in Chicago, as elsewhere in the U.S. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times are in bankruptcy, and local broadcast news programs also face economic pressures. Meanwhile, it seems every week brings a new local news entrepreneur from Gapers Block to Beachwood Reporter to Chi-Town Daily News to Windy Citizen to The Printed Blog.In response to these changes, the Knight Foundation is actively supporting a national effort to explore innovations in how information, especially at the local community level, is collected and disseminated to ensure that people find the information they need to make informed decisions about their community's future. The Chicago Community Trust is fortunate to have been selected as a partner working with the Knight Foundation in this effort through the Knight Community Information Challenge. For 94 years, the Trust has united donors to create charitable resources that respond to the changing needs of our community -- meeting basic needs, enriching lives and encouraging innovative ways to improve our neighborhoods and communities.Understanding how online information and communications are meeting, or not, the needs of the community is crucial to the Trust's project supported by the Knight Foundation. To this end, the Trust commissioned the Community Media Workshop to produce The New News: Journalism We Want and Need. We believe this report is a first of its kind resource offering an inventory and assessment of local news coverage for the region by utilizing the interactive power of the internet. Essays in this report also provide insightful perspectives on the opportunities and challenges.

If It Catches My Eye: An Exploration of Online News Experiences of Teenagers

January 7, 2008

Teenagers aren't much into following serious news online, but news organizations can -- and should -- cultivate their interest by learning how to catch their eyes, diminish their angst, go where they are, enlist parents and teachers in the cause, and help teens develop a "news persona," according to a new study released by the Media Management Center at Northwestern University.MMC conducted a qualitative, in-depth study of a diverse group of 65 Chicago-area teens in 2007, seeking to identify what drives the online news consumption of teenagers. The research found:News isn't that important to teens right now.Particularly news of politics, government, public affairs and other subjects that journalists might call "serious news." Other things are more compelling. In addition, following the news is stressful for teens: it reminds them of the peril in the world.Local news sites aren't much on their radar screens.Teens are not interested enough to go out of their way for news. So whatever news pops up in front of them when they turn on their computers -- usually the large Internet portals and news aggregators -- is what they see. Even so, teens are "interestable."Researchers repeatedly heard the phrase, "I will read it IF IT CATCHES MY EYE." Hence, the name of this report. Teens will look at many different kinds of news online if it captures their attention -- with subjects that interest them, video, pictures, the right topics, humorous and weird news and new things. Once interested, they often read on. And even though they don't usually enjoy reading or watching the news, talking about it can be fun.

Nonprofit Communications: Half a Glass, Either Way You See It

October 1, 2007

Only a third of Chicago-area nonprofits appear to have full-time communications staff. On the other hand, nearly half have received some news coverage in the past year or two. These are two key findings from a survey of 212 grantees of The Chicago Community Trust that we undertook in October 2007, informed by several years of baseline studies of many who access our services.

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