Rethinking How Journalists Write About Young People


The stories education journalists tell can make a powerful impact in communities: deepening public understanding of critical issues, highlighting inequities, and holding public officials accountable. But sometimes their stories — and even their choice of words and phrases — may have unintended and potentially harmful effects on public attitudes toward young people. Those depictions can amplify stereotypes or distort impressions of youths.

In this EWA webinar, a communications expert shares insights about the “science of framing” when it comes to adolescents (young people ages 10 to 25). Journalists will gain a better understanding of the power of their words, and engage in reflective professional practice to help examine and rethink how they portray young people.

The webinar provides a crash course in framing, including an overview of scientific research that shows the outsized role journalists play as discourse-makers and agenda-setters. Journalists will learn about three major frames that contribute to restrictive understandings of youth and the adolescent period of life: danger and vulnerability; disparities; and just the brain.

The presenter discusses research and shares concrete examples of alternative frames that can open up opportunities for more nuanced coverage and public conversations. Along with the opportunity to think more deeply about how they write about young people, viewers will get tips for improving reporting related to adolescents during the pandemic.

This webinar was presented on September 23, 2020.