The News School, Real News Written by Chicago Youth and Young Adults…I’m Just Saying

tnsThe problem these days that most people encounter when they turn on their televisions and media sources or turn the pages of their newspapers or magazines is that they are watching and reading programming! Yes, PROGRAMMING! What is Real about News these days is that it is driven by bottom lines and profit. The sensational and redundant story-lines crafted by studio and boardroom executives at the start of each business day drives the content that becomes infotainment and not Real News! One need only to watch or Google “They Live,” the 1988 film starring Roddy Piper and Keith David in one of the most memorable fight scenes in film history, to see how News media vehicles and redundant programming influences many of us without our cognizant knowledge!

The News School at Saint Agatha is a beacon of light as to how we can reject monetized programming for Real and unpoliticized News reporting. Starting in the summer of 2016 with a unique partnership between Phalanx Family Services and Saint Agatha Church, The News School (TNS) has recruited youth from impoverished Black and Brown communities to train and certify them as Citizen reporters, reporting on both the negative and positive stories unfolding daily in those communities! Without regard for bias or typical slanting to craft the events and subsequent reporting of the details, TNS trained cub reporters to report “Just the Facts”!

Students go thru an extensive 8-12-week training curriculum where they are introduced to Citizen Journalism which covers interviewing, the first amendment, and the elements of the basic news story. They also learn Greek and Latin prefixes to help them better understand the English language. Most importantly, they understand that BREAKING NEWS is a story that is constantly unfolding as they listen to the police radio in the TNS classroom and interview participants from the READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) program where enrollment is based on your eligibility of having shot or been shot by someone!

While the program is housed in the heart of North Lawndale in the 24th Ward, inside of Saint Agatha Church at 3151 W. Douglas Boulevard, TNS has still been able to attract both Black and Latino students from all over the Chicagoland area. Even though 11,509 crime incidents have occurred in the 24th Ward and around the church/school area, the TNS staff steadfastly take their mission to task as they focus on teaching and training our youth and young adults to tell His and Her story! After all, history is only a reflection through the lens of the person/s who wrote the narrative!

Given the fact that the Nation is about to hear President Trump give a State of the Union address that will surely be tested on his statements of fact, it is paramount that our youth and young adults be trained, challenged and inspired to report the News…Real News! I clearly remember Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting “you lie” at President Barack Obama in September 2009 during his speech to the joint session of Congress.

I guarantee you that no such inflammatory outburst will occur tonight regardless of the Fake News that the current President will offer to the audience. The current administration’s attack on the News media has allowed many so-called newsmen and women to become rich political pundits with corporate sponsored agendas to mislead and distort the facts from the American public. We at The News School are sickened by it and are determined to recruit and develop young Black and Hispanic youth to become Citizen Reporters!

Opinion by James Cannon

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of The News School

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