Inspiration of the week: You Press

This week’s inspiration is a guest post by Farah Mohammoud of You Press.

The You Press team, from left: Lé N Ho, Farah Mohammoud, Shahin Ullah and Ola Akin

Young people are often misrepresented in the mainstream media.  In British tabloids they are commonly associated with stabbings, unemployment, teenage pregnancies and general underachievement.

The question is: how truly representative is this coverage of British youth? Take the riots in August this year as another example. Were the majority of our young population rioting on the streets? No. Most were watching their TV screens in absolute horror and embarrassment.

In 2009 four young people from inner London decided that enough was enough and that they would take on the national press and they would tell it like it is! They started a social enterprise called You Press. 

We wanted to find a way for young people to write about youth issues from their own perspective and to provide opportunities for young people to share their experiences in the mainstream media.

Young people involved in our social enterprise are supported to write articles on issues that they believe affect them or on current affairs.  We match volunteer mentors to writers who share an interest in similar topics.

We run training workshops for writers and for mentors to support them in our goal of ensuring that young people are represented in the mainstream media to promote positive change. We actively seek partnerships with media organisations to develop the participation of a wide range of young people from diverse backgrounds.

We also run focus groups with young people from various socio-economic backgrounds to explore the issues that matter to young people.

So far, we have enabled young people to write articles on subjects such as education, political participation, volunteering, employment, sexual health and multiculturalism.

We piloted our first three articles on our online column called Youth Tell Us  in conjunction with the Guardian newspaper. So far they have attracted more than 600 comments.

We believe this will motivate society as a whole to take responsibility in supporting young people to improve our society rather than to simply complain about it.

If you also want to hear what young people have to say, please support us by visiting our website.