SE Seattle FreedomNet is a special, youth-focused project under Lift Every Voice. Similar to Lift Every Voice, FreedomNet will recruit, train, and support a group of 20 youth as citizen journalists in setting up and managing an online information commons and broadening awareness of local leadership and initiative through the following channels and activities:
- A dedicated FreedomNet blog for publishing the various products created by participants, including articles, feature stories, photo essays, video clips, poetry, and other media expressions focused on social justice and community building.
- They will conduct a Photo Voice project on community assets that support education, including the production of a printed [and online] gallery and gallery showing.
- They will regularly contribute to the Rainier Beach News Wire, through the posting of near-real-time headlines highlighting local victories, milestones, and learnings from a network of 50 or more individuals and organizations most directly engaged in social justice and community building
- They will maintain and regularly update an online map plotting acts of social justice and community building across the neighborhood
- They will periodically review and publish “On the Radar” summaries of key events and activities to encourage broader awareness and opportunities for collaboration
- They will also post guest articles and comments to other major Web sites and blogs serving the community.
- At the end of the project, participants will host an award ceremony to recognize individuals and organizations who have made unique contributions to social justice and community building across the neighborhood
Additional Project Features
Professional stance and strong team identity
Each participant will receive a citizen journalist portfolio, including business cards, press credentials, a reporter’s notebook, a code of ethics, and list of sources to be contacted on an agreed upon schedule for producing headlines, interviews, stories, and other reports. Participants will have access to digital cameras (still and video), iPads, and desktop computers, as well as appropriate social media access and training.
Meeting and interacting with the community leaders and organizations
Participants will meet with a broad spectrum of community leaders and organizations to learn about the opportunities for civic engagement. They will receive briefings from leadership prior to community meetings and encouraged to voice their questions, thoughts, and opinions on the same stage as adult meeting participants.
Opportunity to enhance verbal and written communication skills
They will have a special opportunity for enhancing their verbal and written presentation skills by participating in Empire Nights.
Experience teamwork through assigned “beats”
The youth will work in multiple teams to cover different beats spanning the neighborhood, loosely structured around the Action Team Areas historically monitored by the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.
Gain recognition for advancing in skills and expertise
They will advance through levels of skill and expertise, from “cub” reporters to writers, editors, and producers in preparing headlines for the Rainier Beach News Wire, articles on the SE Seattle FreedomNet blog, and guest articles on comments on other popular blogs and sites serving the community.
Relationship building through cultivating news sources
They will also develop skill in relationship building by cultivating news sources, some of which they will recruit themselves.