SRL Partner Station of the Month: February 2017

As our liaison to St. Louis’ public media station, Nine Network Public Media, Lindsey Forsythe has created a dream partnership the last few months by bringing two new schools to the program and being a fantastic communicator. We caught up with Lindsey to get her thoughts on the role of public media mentorship in today’s journalism landscape.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited the station?

Through Student Reporting Labs, the Nine Network of Public Media has had the opportunity to connect even more with youth in the St. Louis area. Youth voice is an essential component of our American Graduate and community engagement work, and being able to partner with Central Visual Performing Arts High School and University High School through SRL has given us the ability to regularly communicate with and hear from students in different St. Louis districts. We know that we cannot create content about young people and the issues that impact them without engaging them, so SRL is another tool that allows us to lift up their voices and perspectives and then share those important messages with the broader community. Our participation in SRL has also given us the ability to share our work with a younger audience who we might not have been as connected to before, so that’s been an exciting benefit as well!

Why is it important to help build the next generation of public media producers and participants?

Throughout the presidential campaign, election and the transition to a new president, we have heard consistently that people look to public media as a source of fair, neutral information. Public media is an essential and important part of our society, and it will only be stronger if we engage young people who have fresh ideas and perspectives and who will eventually grow up to be leading voices on important issues. Sharing stories about important issues, people and ideas is how people become informed and engaged in their communities and public media has a long history of carrying out this important work. By engaging young people in public media and building the next generation of producers and participants, we not only ensure that our future leaders will be informed and connected to their communities — we also benefit from the innovative ideas that they bring to the table around reaching diverse audiences and sharing information in creative ways.

If we all had limitless resources, how could we make the Student Reporting Labs program in your community even stronger?

I think it would be great to have Student Reporting Labs in every school in the St. Louis region. Young people benefit tremendously from having their voices heard and we know from our own experiences in St. Louis that participating in SRL can lead to increased work ethic and inspiration among students, as well as deeper parental engagement. All young people should be given a platform to speak about issues that impact them, and Student Reporting Labs is a great way to do that both locally and nationally.