Aug 17

JOURNALISM CHALLENGES

TOPICS AND ISSUES TO EXPLORE

The following challenges are designed to help get you started with the Community Journalism Project -- and to inspire you. Each week, on the YWP site, and monthly in The Voice, we'll introduce more challenges to the list. To distinguish them from YWP's regular weekly challenges, we have given them a "CJP" designation for the Community Journalism Project. The Challenges are ordered by the month they appear on the front page of the site, but you can respond to any of these challenges any time through the year!
CHALLENGES:
August

CJP-Home: Write about your community. It could be a straight descriptive piece, a personal reflection, or an opinionated commentary. What do you like about it? What works; what doesn't? What would make you want to stay or leave?

CJP-Photo Essay1: Create a photo essay of your community. This could be a general collection of photos, or have a theme (front porches, town forest, main street, farmers' market, civic buildings, etc.). Along with the photos, write a short commentary that reflects the sense of place, what makes it unique or special to you. Remember to identify the photos. 
September
CPJ-Immigrant
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said in an interview that Emma Lazarus’s words on the Statue of Liberty should read, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” If you could respond directly to Cuccinelli, what would you say?

CJP-Teens: What do adults get wrong about teenagers?

CJP-Photo Essay2: Create a photo essay of a specific place either in your community or your home that is meaningful to you. Along with the photos, write a short commentary that identifies the place and explains why it matters. 

Voices for Change: Join YWP for a Climate Activism Workshop and Open Mic led by YWP Community Leaders Hazel Civalier and Sophie Dauerman and Poet Lizzy Fox. Thursday, Sept. 19, 6-8 PM at Burlington City Arts! It's free and leads up to the Friday, Sept. 20 Global Climate Strike.

CJP-Climate1: Is anyone listening? Send an urgent message about climate change so people will sit up and pay attention.

CJP-Rural: Many of America's rural areas are struggling with such issues as economic decline and loss of population. Is this happening in your community? What can be done?

CJP-Vote: At what age should Americans be allowed to vote? A major political party in Canada, the New Democratic Party, supports lowering the voting age in federal elections to 16. In the U.S., this idea is also gaining some traction, including from U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts. What do you think of this idea? What are the benefits and risks? 

October
CJP-Morrison: Toni Morrison, the first African-American woman to win the Nobel in Literature, once said, “In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” Expand on Morrison's thought.

CJP-Interview1: Check out the Journalism 101 interviewing tips, choose a classmate, preferably someone you don't know well, and interview this person with the goal of writing a solid profile. Then ask the person to interview you. Use whatever tools you have to document and/or record the interview. 

CJP-Social Justice: Write about a social justice issue that you are witnessing in the world right now. Describe it. If there is hope in solving it, share your ideas. If you think it's hopeless, share your thoughts on that, too. Bring your work to share at YWP's Social Justice writing workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Burlington City Arts, 135 Church St., Burlington, 6-8 PM. More info and sign up here!

CJP-Climate2: Think about your daily life. What is one thing you could start doing today to help ease climate change?

CJP-Arts CriticYoung Writers Project writers attend Kinetic Light's DESCENT at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 30 and write a 500-word (max) review of the show.
November

CJP-Homeless:  There were more than 550,000 homeless people in the United States on a given night in 2018.  Imagine yourself in that place, and write.

CJP-Guns:  America has seen an alarming rise in mass shootings, but efforts at gun control frequently run into strong opposition. What is the way forward? Is there a way to break through this impasse?

CJP-Health: Is health care a human right, as many argue, or is it more of an individual responsibility that each person should figure out on their own?

CJP-Asylum: President Trump wants to repeal the asylum law, which allows immigrants to come to the United States, seek asylum, and wait for their case to be heard. Is he right? Or should the law stand?

CJP-Presidential: Which candidate for the November 2020 election are you most impressed with? Why?
December

CJP-Law: Is justice blind? What influences come into play in the justice system? How could the system be made more fair?

CJP-Minimum: Imagine that you are in charge of campaigning for a fair minimum wage. What hourly wage would you seek and how would you persuade people to support it?

CJP-Student Debt: Student debt has become an issue in the presidential campaign. Some people say it is burdening an entire generation and needs to be written off by the government, but other people say it is just favoring people who already have the advantage of a college education. What do you think about this issue?

CJP-Electoral College: The candidate with the most votes does not necessarily win the presidential election, because the Electoral College system is designed to provide a voice for low-population states. Is this fair? Still realistic today?