Ashley Williams is the founder of Ignite Journalism, a new organization dedicated to providing teens with out-of-school journalism opportunities.
Creating a diverse media industry starts early. Pew Research Center found that “newsroom employees are more likely to be white and male than U.S. workers overall,” with 77 percent of the newsroom being white and 48 percent being white men. High School journalism education in San Diego County feeds into this pattern, and the best public school programs are concentrated at schools serving less-diverse, wealthier populations.
Ignite Journalism seeks to bring free, quality journalism opportunities to more students in the region, targeting juniors and seniors at public high schools that do not have journalism classes or student media. This program will teach high school students critical journalism and digital skills to support them in producing content for their own polished, local and youth-focused online media outlet.
Students will meet as a group weekly throughout the school year to learn the fundamentals of journalism, pitch stories, discuss content production, and hear from guest speakers working in the field. They will also learn how to publish their work online and will create social media content to accompany/repackage their stories and develop their digital media storytelling skills.