Gen-Z is entering adulthood as the U.S. grapples with systemic inequities in institutions from policing to education to health care. Student Reporting Labs, our journalism program for high school students, asked teenagers across the country how they’re approaching the moment, and Stephanie Sy talks to activists Thandiwe Abdullah, founder of Black Lives Matter LA Youth Vanguard, and Jalen Thompson.
Last fall, students at SRL Lab Dominion High School in Sterling, Va. produced a piece on Latinx stereotypes for SRL’s first assignment: No Labels. Local Spanish-speaking station Telemundo Washington, D.C. covered the video’s producers after the piece was awarded with a Quill & Scroll Award.
High schools across the country have canceled graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some public media organizations are stepping up to address the loss of the rite of passage.
PBS Student Reporting Labs and WOUB in Athens, Ohio, have both created initiatives for high-school seniors. SRL partnered with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, an educator support organization, to launch #SeniorPortrait, a campaign sharing seniors’ video diaries.
Students can develop skills, from empathy to active listening abilities, by connecting with others — even over the internet. These social-emotional learning tools, from social awareness to relationship skills, can help improve how they connect and engage with others, whether that’s classmates today or colleagues in the future.
There’s nothing like the smile on a student’s face after they complete an interview with an expert. When done right—with preparation and practice—such a conversation gives teenagers a sense of accomplishment, relevance, and agency in the world.