Youth Radio on Henry Jenkins’ Acafan

When my Youth Radio colleague Ayesha Walker and I went to the National Media Education Conference in St. Louis awhile back, we chit chatted with Henry Jenkins about some of the big ideas he’s been rolling out in his recent digital media writing. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve been following and citing his work for years, so I stalked him on his way out of the dining room, dragging Ayesha behind me.

The good news for us was, at the end of our conversation, he said he’d like to publish an interview with Youth Radio on his Acafan site. Here are some of the questions he sent our way.

How would you define the mission of Youth Radio? What are you trying to accomplish?

What roles do youth play in your production process? What roles do adults play?

What do you see as the continued value of broadcast radio as a medium in an era of blogs and podcasts?

I noticed that you are making your broadcast content available via iTunes. How did that come about and how successful do you think this approach has been at broadening who listens to youth radio?

What kinds of skills and knowledge are young people acquiring through their involvement with the production of youth radio?

What relationship does your group have with other youth radio producers around the world?

When we met in Saint Louis, we had an interesting exchange about the value of individual authorship as opposed to collective intelligence. I wondered if you might be willing to share your perspective on this topic here.

There’s been a general trend suggesting that contemporary youth are less likely than previous generations to seek out information from traditional news channels. What insights do you have about why young people might be turned off by news?

There’s been a general trend suggesting that contemporary youth are less likely than previous generations to seek out information from traditional news channels. What insights do you have about why young people might be turned off by news?

For our answers, check out Confessions of an Acafan sometime next week. Here’s an excerpt from the answer Pendarvis (Dru) Harshaw, Youth Radio reporter and commentator, supplied for Henry’s last question:

The difference between Youth Radio and a MySpace or a YouTube or any new site which allows a person to produce themselves is … media literacy. Youth Radio does what MySpace would hate us to do: Teach us why sites like MySpace work—the advertisements, the conglomerates, and how all of this relates to them getting our money. Instead of blindly posting our videos and pictures on a website owned by a round table of old farts, Youth Radio teaches us the process of broadcasting, the mechanics of production, and the influence of media—not from the mouth of an old fart, but from the mouths of young people who have also gone through this program, young people who are literate in the power of media, and the power we have in producing the media.

If you want to hear more from Dru, here’s a story called N-Bomb he recently did for NPR.

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