The 2020 Young Voices Media Project Online and Socially Distant


Our July 2020 Young Voices Media Project was held primarily online. Ten high school students from the Salinas Valley spent two weeks learning professional journalism and writing skills. See their stories below.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we launched our 3rd annual Young Voices Media Project this summer. COVID-19, social distancing and public-health orders complicated everything. But distance learning was nothing new to our young reporters, who have been dealing with this stuff at their Salinas Valley high schools since March.

Editors met with our young reporters briefly and in person to introduce ourselves on July 6, and again on July 17 for a quick ceremony to celebrate their work. In between was a flurry of Zoom meetings and phone calls and guest appearances. We gathered for Zoom meetings three times a day; in between, the young reporters worked on their stories. They contacted sources, researched their material, worked with their editors and wrote their stories.

What an amazing collection of stories they put together. They range from topical discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement to explanations about how social media is impacting body image for young women during the pandemic, from the advancement of women entrepreneurs to the mental-health stigma that prevents athletes from getting the help they need.

The crew from Voices of Monterey Bay is grateful to the professional journalists and to the public figures who met with our class. One of the benefits of Zoom is that we could connect with people far from Monterey County, so we were fortunate this year to have freelance journalist Patricia Guadalupe and Ricardo Sandoval, the public editor for PBS. Both joined us from Washington D.C. and both inspired our young reporters with stories and lessons gleaned from their incredible careers.

In addition to the VOMB crew (Claudia Meléndez Salinas, Julie Reynolds Martinez, Kathryn McKenzie and Joe Livernois), students were fortunate to work with two young editors, Eduardo Cuevas and Charlotte West.

VOMB also acknowledges the following for spending quality virtual time with our students: Seaside Councilman Jon Wizard, Telemundo Anchor Stephanie Magallon, a former law-enforcement professional who spoke to our reporters off the record, podcast editor and producer Mara Reynolds, former San Jose Mercury News editorial writer Joe Rodriguez, VOMB investigative reporter Royal Calkins, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, and three reporters from CalMatters in Sacramento, including Bella Ross, Omar Rashad and Janelle Salanga.

Finally, a big thanks to our copy editors, Paul Hersh and Christy Hoffknecht. Yes, it takes quite the village!

The Young Voices Media Project is funded with the generous support of the Clare Giannini Fund, and it’s an integral part of our mission: To bridge cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic gaps through engaging and nuanced storytelling. None of these gaps can be bridged without youth voices at the table, and we’re fortunate to have had 10 brilliant minds willing to give us their time and energy. Here’s to you, budding journos!

MEET the 2020 Young Voices journalists!

Every voice counts.
You can support the Young Voices Media Project by donating to Voices of Monterey Bay.


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