Why don’t young people vote? Teen journalists investigate
Full Collection: Videos are available on SRL’s youth vote series website here.
Teen reporters from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) reveal the issues that matter most to young voters in the new series, Turning Out: The Youth Vote. From Miami, Florida to Fort Payne, Alabama, student journalists from SRL’s national network of 135 schools conducted more than 300 interviews to explore the impact of the youth vote. The series reflects the emerging youth voice that has moved front and center in national conversations around issues such as education, school safety and national priorities, and has the potential to influence voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections.
With only 17% of 18-to-24-year-old voters turning out in the last midterm election, teen journalists from SRL’s network tackled topics like low voter engagement, today’s political climate among young Democrats and Republicans, and the increased number of women running for office this year.
“We hear about the youth vote every election, but it’s usually adult news producers or pundits parachuting in,” says Leah Clapman, SRL Managing Editor. “High school broadcast programs can tackle important topics like who votes and why. It’s part of the NewsHour’s unique approach to issues that affect young people and their families, and SRL’s civics education mission.”
Students were able to interview candidates on all sides such as Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and his Republican opponent Corey Stewart. They joined a press pool following Senate candidate Beto O’ Rourke at a campaign stop in Texas; and interviewed influential youth activists from organizations like NextGen and Vote16USA.
“The whole experience has really opened up my eyes to a side of politics that I never knew about, as well as really emphasizing the importance of voting,” said Morgan Fischer, an SRL student at Dominion High School who interviewed Tim Kaine and Corey Stewart.
“It is amazing for our students to play a crucial role in informing the voting public about the voting choices that lie before them in the significant race here in Virginia for the United State Senate, and the Dominion High School Broadcast Program and PBS Student Reporting Labs provides a robust platform from which our students are empowered to make meaningful contributions to the world,” said Monika Vereb, Assistant Principal at Dominion High School.
In the days leading up to Election Day, follow SRL on social media and NewsHour’s platforms.
Brighton High School-Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Communication Arts High School-San Antonio, TX
Judge Memorial Catholic High School-Salt Lake City, Utah
Pflugerville High School-Pflugerville, Texas
Smoky Mountain Youth Media-Knoxville, TN
Aragon High School-San Mateo, California
Cedar Crest High School-Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Daniel Pearl Magnet High School-Lake Balboa, California
Dominion High School-Sterling, Virginia
Escondido High School-Escondido, California
Etiwanda High School-Rancho Cucamonga, California
Forestview High School-Gastonia, North Carolina
Fort Mill High School-Fort Mill, South Carolina
Franklin Learning Center-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Frederick Douglass High School-Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Hallie Wells Middle School-Clarksburg, Maryland
John F. Kennedy High School-Silver Spring, Maryland
Legacy Early College High School-Greenville, South Carolina
Lewis and Clark Middle School-Omaha, Nebraska
Mid-Maine Technical Center-Waterville, Maine
Northview High School-Covina, California
Oakland Military Institute-Oakland, California
Ontario High School-Ontario, California
Social Justice Humanitas Academy-San Fernando, California
Surrattsville High School-Clinton, Maryland
West Ranch High School-West Ranch High School
Westview High School-San Diego, California
Abingdon-Avon High School-Abingdon, Illinois
Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School-Miami, Florida
Black River Falls High School-Black River Falls, Wisconsin
Blackstone Millville Regional High School-Blackstone, Massachusetts
Brodhead High School-Brodhead, Wisconsin
Clinton High School-Clinton, Arkansas
Desert Pines High School-Las Vegas, Nevada
Jackson Creek Middle School-Bloomington, Indiana
Madison High School-Rexburg, Idaho
Maui High School-Kahului, Hawaii
Miami Country Day School-Miami, Florida
Omaha North Magnet High School-Omaha, Nebraska
Pine Crest School-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Santa Fe High School-Edmond, Oklahoma
West Roxbury Academy-Boston, Massachusetts
Hall High School-Little Rock, Arkansas
Station support for this project provided by:
KUED; KLRU; UEN; East Tennessee PBS; KQED; PBS SoCal; WETA; KPBS
SCETV; WHYY; AETN; WGBH; OETA-Oklahoma; South Florida PBS; NET
PBS Hawaii; WTIU; Vegas PBS; Wisconsin Public Television; and Maine Public Broadcasting
About Student Reporting Labs
Student Reporting Labs provides middle and high schools with a unique video journalism curriculum, teacher professional development, mentorship and relationships with local public media stations to produce original stories that explore how critical national issues impact communities around the country. Visit PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Major support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award.
About PBS NewsHour
PBS NewsHour is seen by over four million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets, and via podcast. PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned nonprofit subsidiary of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with WNET in New York. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.
Leah Clapman, Managing Editor, Student Reporting Labs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elis Estrada, Director, Student Reporting Labs: email@example.com