Creating Media That Matters

Urban journalism can transform lives – give young inner city students a voice, a passion, an inspiration – and the Urban Media Project will be the impetus to break ground in innovation, diversity and education.

The mission of the Urban Media Institute is to give inner-city Indianapolis students a forum and conduit for their voices, ideas and opinions, and to build a pathway to the myriad of career opportunities that await savvy, ethical and solidly trained communicators.

This is a bold move, but one that will break new educational ground and take advantage of a perfect storm of change, innovation, talent and opportunity by developing trained media-literate consumers and creators in an independent organization and providing paid internships and relevant career employment opportunities for young journalism professionals.

THE PROBLEM:

There is a growing gap between the use of technology and media in the daily lives of inner city young people and the opportunities to develop these critical thinking, judgement and technical career preparation skills through student media opportunities in Indianapolis city schools

  • Phones are banned in IPS classrooms via the Student Code of Conduct
  • Media programs within the Indianapolis Public Schools are virtually non-existent
  • Extra-curricular opportunities are declining due to students’ need to earn money in part-time jobs
  • IPS English ECA scores are consistently below the state average
  • Lack of diversity in electives for inner city public high schools

Apathy amongst students due to lack of leadership, media literacy and critical thinking/research-based multimedia learning opportunities focusing on college and career readiness skills

  • A majority of IPS students are disenfranchised on their campuses which have minimal student media and student government opportunities. This lack of media experience and knowledge of mass media law, ethics and principles amongst teachers and administrators that leads to a stifling of freedom of speech and the press
  • Poverty and violence, especially among inner city black youth and lack of after school opportunities to develop their communication, media and artistic skills.

Technology can be bought and will soon be in place in even the poorest public schools; Indiana’s education standards and the Common Core call for media literacy and an increasing emphasis on non-fiction texts, but without teacher training and ongoing support, technology becomes an obstacle instead of a pathway to student achievement and career preparation.

THE SOLUTION:
Urban Media Project is the bridge between schools and innovative, creative educational and college/career-ready media literacy and English language arts opportunities by empowering young people to use their technology, leadership, marketing and media skills to support classroom teachers, community organizations and local businesses, and connecting educators, community businesses, and organizations with young innovative communicators and artists to create the next generation of involved, interactive citizens through PAID internships and leadership positions for area youth with the possibility of future employment.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE:

  • Urban Media Project is the center for creative youth media projects and training for inner city youth without student media opportunities at their high school. The director will serve as publisher, editor and adviser for all media products and training and also coordinate media and community partners’ involvement in the organization.
  • Alumni of IPS media programs will be the paid mentors and key members of the operation of the Urban Media Project. They will be in charge of leading production of an ongoing website, print, video and social media outlets and marketing, branding, social media and multimedia projects for community organizations and businesses by the paid high school interns who would work after school;
  • High school juniors and seniors would be able to apply for paid part-time jobs for their work with the Urban Media Project publications/productions, which would also include creating marketing, branding, social media and multimedia projects for community organizations and businesses, as well as educational materials for elementary and middle schools or youth organizations for after school/summer programs.
  • A core group of media professionals and college interns would be formed who would volunteer to provide professional resources and technical support to teachers to implement media literacy projects in English Language Arts classes.
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