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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

Learning to Fish: How The Challenge Fund for Journalism Helped a Set of Nonprofit Media Organizations Strengthen Their Capacity to Generate Revenues

June 7, 2012

Evaluates the CFJ initiative to support nonprofit journalism organizations, including its achievements, sustainability, successful strategies, and how the program design and selection process shaped results. Includes lessons learned and two case studies.

Journalism, News, and Information

Engaging Audiences: Measuring Interactions, Engagement and Conversions

May 1, 2012

Jan Schaffer and Erin Polgreen unpack findings from a national survey conducted by American University's J-Lab that examined the ways in which news sites engage their audiences and measure engagement.

Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality

February 16, 2012

Building upon a process-and context-oriented information quality framework, this paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities. A review of selected literature at the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality -- primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies -- reveals patterns in youth's information-seeking behavior, but also highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation. Looking at the phenomenon from an information-learning and educational perspective, the literature shows that youth develop competencies for personal goals that sometimes do not transfer to school, and are sometimes not appropriate for school. Thus far, educational initiatives to educate youth about search, evaluation, or creation have depended greatly on the local circumstances for their success or failure.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Applications and Tools; Media Platforms

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

Copyright, Free Speech, and the Public's Right to Know: How Journalists Think about Fair Use

February 1, 2011

This study, resulting from long-form interviews with 80 journalists, finds that journalistic mission is in peril, because of lack of clarity around copyright and fair use. Journalists' professional culture is highly conducive to a robust employment of their free speech rights under the copyright doctrine of fair use, but their actual knowledge of fair use practice is low. Where they have received education on copyright and fair use, it has often been erroneous. Ironically, when they do not know that they are using fair use, they nevertheless do so with a logic and reasoning that accords extremely well with today's courts' interpretation of the law. But when they have to actively make a decision about whether to employ fair use, they often resort to myths and misconceptions. Furthermore, they sometimes take unnecessary risks. The consequence of a failure to understand their free speech issues within the framework of fair use means that, when facing new practices or situations, journalists experience expense, delays and even failure to meet their mission of informing the public. These consequences are avoidable, with better and shared understanding of fair use within the experience of journalistic practice, whether it is original reporting, aggregation, within large institutions or a one-person outfit. Journalists need both to understand fair use and to articulate collectively the principles that govern its employment to meet journalistic mission.

Silence or Death in Mexico's Press: Crime, Violence, and Corruption Are Destroying the Country's Journalism

September 8, 2010

Examines the culture of bribery, extortion, and police complicity; murders and kidnappings of journalists; and the resulting self-censorship. Includes case studies, lists of the dead and missing, and recommendations for governments and journalists.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Access and Policy

Protocol for Free & Responsible Student News Media

June 18, 2010

The Protocol represents a logical next step for the Civic Program in our work to further the cause of civic education in Illinois. In 2009, we released the Illinois Civic Blueprint, a document detailing six promising approaches to teaching civic education in high schools across the state. Among the approaches is making student activities available that encourage greater involvement and connection to school and community. The link between certain extracurricular activities and lifelong civic engagement is well documented, particularly those organizations that pursue a collective outcome, such as student government, youth service clubs and, perhaps most prominently, scholastic news media.Another approach emphasizes authentic student voice in school governance. This entails student opportunities to discuss school policies, present viewpoints, and have a respectful hearing of their concerns. It also includes information about student rights and responsibilities in school, and established processes for students to air their grievances, including issues of fairness. The Protocol that follows embodies these principles and more. The Knight Foundation's annual survey of student appreciation for the First Amendment shows that students are much more likely than their teachers or administrators to take for granted the First Amendment's five freedoms. However, students enrolled in classes with First Amendment or media content show higher levels of support for freedom of expression. Additionally, when First Amendment freedoms are rooted in their daily lives, students are much more likely to protect not only their own rights but also the rights of others. Such a reciprocal commitment is the best way to preserve First Amendment freedoms.All too often student media fall victim to the inevitable tensions associated with schools' perpetual balancing act between freedom and structure. Lack of structure invites sloppy journalism that reflects poorly upon the school it represents. Lack of freedom fails to prepare tomorrow's journalists for professional responsibilities and obligations and tomorrow's citizens for news consumption critical to informed democratic participation.The Protocol is our best effort to find balance between freedom and structure. It is a consensus document that student journalists, their advisers and school administrators can turn to repeatedly during times of both harmony and discord. When a controversy surrounding a student newspaper gathers headlines in the professional press or ends up in the courtroom, all parties lose. On the other hand, when adversaries become allies, when contentious issues are resolved through consensus, and when student journalists practice their craft with the proper mix of freedom and structure, all parties win.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Access and Policy

Current State of Military-Media Relations: Where Do We Go From Here?

February 3, 2010

In fall 2006, approximately 140,000 American troops were deployed in Iraq, compared with about 20,000 in Afghanistan. By September 2009, there were 65,000 U.S. troops and nearly 40,000 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, with 124,000 still in Iraq. During those same three years, reporters and the news organizations that they represent also have confronted enormous change. Print and broadcast news outlets are struggling both to adapt to and compete with online media. Although people are reading newspapers in record numbers, many are reading them online, a factor that has toppled the traditional advertising model. Plummeting ad revenues have led to layoffs, slashed budgets and closures. Meanwhile, broadcast news organizations seem to compete for audience by increasing the number of shouting matches rather than nuanced, unbiased coverage of important stories.A few figures reveal the changing landscape. A 2009 report from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that the Internet surpassed newspapers as a main source of news for those surveyed, growing from about 10 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2008. During the same period, newspapers dropped as a main source of news from more than 40 percent in 2001 to 35 percent in 2008. While television still leads the pack, it has fallen from a peak of 90 percent in 1996 to 70 percent in 2008. (See chart"Main News Sources for Americans," page 7.) "Viewership of serious news programs in broadcast is turning down sharply, so broadcasters are turning even more toward less serious news," said conference moderator Ralph Begleiter, director of the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware.This strategy has had a major impact on coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. "Let's face it, most Americans could care less whether the lights are on in Baghdad today or whether young women in Afghanistan are going to school," said Begleiter. "Most Americans just want to know when our boys are coming home." Against the background of these changes in the news business are two wars that are extremely complicated to cover, Afghanistan even more than Iraq. How does the military deal with reporters who are bloggers with strong points of view and no organizational affiliation? "You're dealing with irregular media as well as irregular warfare," said Begleiter. This puts an added strain on an adversarial relationship. Irreconcilable differences exist between the way the military and media carry out the same mission: to support the nation. "Many people inthe military believe that the way to be a team player is to support winning the war, which supports the nation. It's a logical conclusion."The media, on the other hand, play the role of devil's advocate in monitoring institutions like the military and the government. "Their purpose in life is to pick at the scab, to find out where the problem is. Of course, the ultimate goal is to help fix the problem," Begleiter said.

Journalism, News, and Information

The Health of Ethnic Media: Needs and Opportunities

December 30, 2008

The ethnic news media (ranging the gamut from newspapers to broadcast programs to online ventures) have experienced rapid growth in tandem with the changing nature of the nation's demographics, yet considerable anecdotal evidence shows that many of these outlets struggle with a variety of serious problems, ranging from poor journalistic standards to sheer survivability as businesses. The study was designed to provide an assessment of the sector's health and resiliency and to identify threats to success, primarilyfrom the perspective of its staff and leaders.

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