Rachel Belin, Managing Partner, Kentucky Student Voice Team
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Lexington, KY— Today, young people from the Kentucky Student Voice Team published the first articles on The New Edu, a new youth-led education media service.
The New Edu is an independent online publication featuring student writing and reporting on Kentucky’s education system. The publication will leverage the unique perspectives of young people to provide reporting and commentary about local schools, districts and state policymaking.
The announcement comes on the heels of KSVT’s Summer Journalism Institute, a program to train Kentucky middle and high school students from across the state to cover education news and issues during the upcoming school year. The 17 Journalism Fellows in the inaugural cohort have received ongoing training from the team’s high school and college members working in partnership with journalism and curriculum experts. They, and other students who make up The New Edu’s Press Corps will be paid to write.
In addition to publishing content on their own digital platform, KSVT plans to share content freely with other Kentucky news media.
“We know here in Kentucky, as with newsrooms across the country, that journalists are struggling,” says Esha Bajwa, a recent graduate from Fern Creek High School in Louisville who is helping to build capacity in the student reporters. “They do heroic work, but with the commercialization and consolidation of so much of our news media, there are just far too few journalists. We want to partner with those covering education in Kentucky to help ensure young people are better represented in what is written about our schools.”
“There’s an urgent need for youth-centered work in journalism,” says Rainesford Stauffer, a freelance journalist, author, and Kentuckian who is supporting students as the managing editor of The New Edu. “We picture a Kentucky-focused, community-driven media platform where young people are given the resources, support and training to tell the stories impacting their schools and communities themselves.”
To that end, the group has begun assembling a Journalism Advisory Dream Team, comprising Kentucky media professionals who commit to serve as informal advisors for the youth-led newsroom as they further develop the concept.
Connor Giffin, a reporter for The Louisville Courier Journal, jumped at the chance to support the youth-led newsroom in an advisory role.
“What these Kentucky students are doing to bolster responsible coverage of Kentucky schools benefits all of us,” Giffin says. “These young journalists are not just the future, but they are doing the work we need to keep our education system more accountable to the people they serve right now.”
Assistant editor Sara Falluji, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, who has written about a range of education issues for the team, stressed that when it comes to informing the public about public education, Kentucky students bring unique added value.
“Our journalism service is meant to play an important role in ensuring Kentucky youth are informed about the system in which we are learning and living,” Falluji said. “Who better than the primary stakeholders of our public schools, the people who spend 35 hours or more each week in our classrooms, to tell the stories about them?”
About Kentucky Student Voice Team
The Kentucky Student Voice Team is an independent, statewide organization of young people who are co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools and communities as research, policy & advocacy partners. Read more about the organization and The New Edu, its youth-led education media service, at ksvt.org.