The AjA Project: Photography Programs for San Diego Youth

Speak City Heights Media Lab: Inspiring Innovative Youth Reporting

This spring, the AjA Project partnered with Media Arts Center San Diego (MACSD) and KPBS to deliver a new program at Hoover High School in City Heights called Speak City Heights Media Lab (SCHML). SCHML provides participants with professional journalism, photojournalism and videography skills to support the creation of media projects focused on community-based issues impacting youth and administration at Hoover High School.

The tiered, three-part curriculum lays the foundation around community-based reporting by developing increased proficiency in journalistic practices, ethics and visual storytelling. Throughout the program, participants have the unique opportunity to develop coverage of the community-based topics they selected with reporters from KPBS, professional photographers from the AjA Project and media arts educators from MACSD.

Race relations, the impact of litter and waste disposal on the local environment and LGBTQ awareness are the three topics of focus participants identified as newsworthy stories to cover for the program.

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Photo by John, SCHML Participant, age 15

In building their photo essays, the first project in a series of projects covered during the semester-long program, participants are creating documentary images and environmental portraits around each topic. (see above and below)

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Photo by Maggie, SCHML Participant, age 15

As participants develop content and interview sources, they become more proficient and aware of the issues that impact their school, as well as the resources available around these issues.

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Photo by Maggie, SCHML Participant, age 15

Through the SCHML program participants are striving to broaden awareness and educate a larger population around the relevant and timely issues impacting the community through youth reporting.