The Youth Media Summit 2014 took place at the beginning of August in London. More than 400 young people involved with youth media had the opportunity to talk to each other and share their ideas with professionals from The Times, Guardian, BBC and other mainstream media.
The event reinforced the message that youth media has a huge power – more and more people decide to create and use youth media. The variety of youth media, the diversity of people behind it and the opportunities, the internet provides, mean that often there is a larger variety of the youth media than of the mainstream one. “Youth media gives you freedom,” one of the participants said.
Nowadays, it seems harder and harder to find a job in the traditional media and young people often have to create jobs for themselves. At least they have to make certain that there are enough chances to gain work experience before their start applying for positions in big media outlets. Luckily, today’s world provides us with endless opportunities for that as most of the participants of the event had their own YouTube channels. Besides all of them were active social media users because that is the greatest available networking tool.
The interactions with the mainstream media were encouraging during the Youth Media Summit. The Guardian heard ideas for the different ways they could collaborate with the youth media (among them was partnering with OneEurope in order to hear the opinion of young people from across Europe on a particular topic that will interest their readers). BBC and Channel4 gave some advice on the different ways young people can pitch their ideas to them or how they can enter one of their talent schemes.
One of the most inspiring talks was from Nick Petrie, Deputy Head of News Development at The Times and founder of Wannabe Hacks – a youth media for aspiring journalists that provides invaluable tips to anyone who wants to enter the media world.
Nick proved with examples from his experience that you can learn from everything you do, regardless if it looks like a glamorous success or like a massive failure. He also made sure that everyone understands that despite all obstacles you might bump into on your way, you should always concentrate on the positive aspects of your experience. That means that being young can’t be a drawback when looking for a media job – you have experienced a whole world that the older generations haven’t and you have gained unique skills on the way.
Last, but not least, the budding journalists, presenters and producers talked about the way young people are portrayed in the mainstream media. And they weren't happy with what they saw. When was the last time you read a story about a young person doing a great job? And how many times a week do you read about young people breaking the law or drinking?
The youth is portrayed negatively in the media more often than it could be and that should be changed. Young people do great things! They are fighting for their schools, they want to save lives with their music, they revolutionize the way doctors work and they change Europe. Young people can still be responsible, forward-thinking and energetic! Let's show it to the world!