Youth Rise Magazine is a youth-led, community-based digital, web publication where young people age 14-19 in the central city of Milwaukee originate, report, create, produce, design and edit all content. In the summer of 2016, it piloted and operated as part of the Urban Underground Earn and Learn summer employment program.
Within the realms of this project, students have not only been given the space to reflect on and share their own stories, but also permission and legitimacy in reporting on issues, people or places that are important to them or that they feel affected by.
Students spent the first part of the eight week program in workshops learning skills ranging from storytelling, interviewing and reporting to photography and basic web design. The other aspects of the Urban Underground program immersed them in different experiences throughout Milwaukee that inspired many of their story ideas. The students then put those skills to work and developed their plan for “Views from the Youth.”
The Youth Rise Magazine pilot of summer 2016 has been based on the principles of setting high expectations for excellence; exposing students to new professions, people and places; equipping students with marketable job skills and a network of goal-oriented, community-minded friends and mentors; and empowering students to take ownership of shaping the narratives that form about them in the media.
Youth Rise Magazine will promote youth voices to expand perspectives in Milwaukee.
- We are storytellers, elevating voices in our city as well as within ourselves, sharing both news and personal stories, always upholding the values of honesty and credibility. We seek to tell stories that confront issues while also looking toward solutions with hope.
- We are students, learning as we go and open to growth. Every element of our publication is led and developed by youth.
- We are collaborators, knowing we are better together and stronger when we embrace community.
- We are changemakers, expanding the conversation and shifting the paradigm of what the media looks like in our city while challenging perceptions and stereotypes.
- We are activists, pursuing equality and equity because we believe every single human being is deserving of dignity. We are passionate about social justice issues in our city, especially those related to health, education, public safety and juvenile justice.
- We are creatives, communicating our content in innovative and relevant ways, providing spaces for our contributors to be expressive and artistic.
- We are Milwaukee, valuing our connection to our community and impacting it positively by representing those who are often underrepresented or misrepresented as well as people and groups doing good work. We are from Milwaukee and for Milwaukee.
- We are leaders, committing to both the personal and professional growth and development of each participating contributor.
- We are dreamers, hoping to foster inspiration and passion among our contributors as well as our readers.
We are the youth rising, taking back the narratives that form about us, ensuring that our voices and views are heard, loud and clear.
“Views from the Youth”
The series of profiles “Views from the Youth” was inspired by the students’ desire to add depth and breadth to what people think of when they think of young people in Milwaukee. Through several facilitated brainstorming sessions, the students identified a list of community issues that they were concerned about or interested in. They then selected specific individuals under the age of 20 who were in some way connected to those issues that they cared about and set out to write profiles about them. By having young people share the stories of other young people, the contributors of Youth Rise Magazine hope to fulfill their mission of promoting youth voices to expand perspectives in Milwaukee.
The youth leadership team
Youth Rise Magazine is a genuinely youth-led endeavor. This idea can only be true if students are making decisions in positions of leadership throughout the process of its publication. The leadership team was comprised of four students, one to lead each of the various teams: editorial and content; social media and marketing; photography and video; and design and branding. Team leaders worked with staff in program planning and when publishing. They were absolutely instrumental in shaping the publication by crafting the mission statement and manifesto, casting vision, and influencing day to day functions with their leadership.
As an editor, Allison Dikanovic brought her double-edged perspective as both a senior journalism student and a seasoned volunteer youth worker to build trust with and invest meaningfully in the lives and success of the participants while connecting the youth to the insight and mentorship of professionals in her network. As a Marquette student, she strived to foster connections between young people and the university, providing access to facilities and equipment.
The Youth Rise Magazine pilot would not have been possible if not for the dedication and support of the staff members at Urban Underground including Sharlen Moore, Imani Ray, Darrin Madison and Jessie Russell.