Teen journalists explore what opportunity in America looks like in 2019

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs is kicking off 2019 with a series from its national network of teen reporters that explores how young people are making decisions about their future as they discover opportunities and encounter barriers like the high cost of college, poverty, staggering wage gaps, and immigration status.

The series,“Opportunity in America,” examines the tough choices and personal struggles that members of Gen Z are facing on the path to achieving their goals, and the support systems that aim to prepare the most diverse and interconnected generation of our time.

Students in West Virginia worked with SRL producers to investigate how young people are searching for economic mobility outside of the energy and coal industries. Further south in North Carolina, youth reporters profiled innovative education programs that are closing inclusion gaps for individuals living with disabilities. In Wyoming, high schoolers from Cody observed how one of the smallest schools in the nation remains a central part of a rural community.

“Every summer we brainstorm topics for the coming school year with passionate student journalists from around the country,” said Leah Clapman, Managing Editor of Education for PBS NewsHour. “I heard deep fears and frustration combined with hope for the future, so we knew this was the topic for these times. We’re so proud of these SRL journalists who are informing their local communities and the national dialogue about how young people see obstacles and opportunities to make the world a better place.”

Jaimee Rashbaum, a journalism teacher at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida worked with her students to complete several pieces for the series. “I have loved seeing our students step outside their comfort zone to find in-depth stories outside of our school community,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful challenge and quite rewarding, as they all interviewed people they would never have met. Each of our students grew tremendously from this project.”

“Working on our ‘Opportunity in America’ story presented multiple challenges and obstacles, but when looking back at the process and seeing the completed story, I feel very fortunate and humbled to have been given this opportunity,” said student Logan Tsukiyama from Maui High School in Hawaii, who produced a story about a Special Olympics youth ambassador.  

Follow #OpportunityinAmerica on Twitter and Instagram to catch the latest about these student-produced stories, including a behind-the-scenes look at their productions across the country.

Featured Labs:

  • Christopher Columbus High School, Miami, Florida
  • Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton, Michigan
  • Maui High School, Maui, Hawaii
  • Middle Creek High School, Apex, North Carolina
  • Morgantown High School, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Pine Crest School, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Windsor High School, Windsor, California
  • Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
  • West Ranch High School, Santa Clarita, California

Coming Soon:

  • Caesar Rodney High School, Camden, Delaware
  • Etiwanda High School, Rancho Cucamonga, California
  • Desert Pines High School, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Dominion High School, Sterling, Virginia
  • Hallie Wells Middle School, Clarksburg, Maryland
  • Independence High School, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Lewis and Clark Middle School, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Mayfair Laboratory School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Northview High School, Covina, California
  • South Charleston High School, South Charleston, West Virginia
  • Smoky Mountain Youth Media, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • SRL Academy Fellow Maya Loera, Houston, Texas

About Us:

Student Reporting Labs connect students with an innovative video journalism curriculum and a network of public broadcasting mentors to develop digital media, critical thinking and communication skills while producing original news reports from a youth perspective. Visit studentreportinglabs.org to learn more.

Support Provided By:

The American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative, public media’s long-term commitment, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help young people succeed in school, career and life. Major support is also provided by the MacArthur Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.