El Diario La Prensa reports on a publication being put out by young New Yorkers of Latino heritage that tries to stretch the definition of a traditional newspaper to better reflect their own life experiences. An excerpt of the translation is below.
In 2012, when blogs and online forums deprive teens of the opportunity to use actual paper, the production process of a traditional newspaper – with sheets and genuine ink – continues to enthrall a group of Brooklyn adolescents.
World on the Street, which launched in 2001, is a surprising X-ray of young New Yorkers’ interests. Instead of containing jokes, celebrity gossip, or tabloids, the publication is more of an in-depth look into the social concerns of its authors, the majority of whom are immigrants or the children of Latino immigrants.
Topics range from the consequences of not paying attention to one’s parents, to starting college, to more complicated issues like the militarization of public schools, street violence, and LGBT rights.
“The newspaper covers issues that affect us, teenagers living in Queens, where, for example, we work very hard to promote the NY Dream Act. Our problems are very different from the problems of teens in Brooklyn, where there are more cases of police brutality because of the Stop and Frisk policy,” explained Oscar Chico, a 20-year-old youth of Mexican descent who is studying art at Parsons The New School for Design. He has found his niche in illustration and poetry.
Taught to express themselves
Throughout most of the year, some 30 young adults ages 15 to 21 gather once or twice a week to learn various aspects of journalism, from reporting and investigation to photography and video. They organize the production of the publication, which comes out three times a year with some 24 pages and a print run of between 1,000 and 2,000 copies to be distributed in Queens and Brooklyn.
“We propose and discuss topics at the editorial meetings, but we can’t write articles without first doing in-depth research about what it is we want to talk about,” said Wilian Mejía, an 18-year-old of Honduran heritage. He studies at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center.
The team carefully reviews the production process for each edition, which publishes articles in English and Spanish.
Freedom of expression has also been critical to the newspaper’s survival.
“We can always suggest ideas and write what we want,” explained Francisco Lahoz, an 18-year-old of Dominican background. He will study anthropology at Queens College starting in September.
Lahoz has a particular interest in human culture and history. He has written articles on the challenge of finding a summer job as a young adult, new social networks in cyberspace, and a trip to Antarctica.
The students express their viewpoints on issues in the form of an essay. “I don’t have a particular style, but I like to write from my own experience,” said Lahoz.
As a result of its popularity among adolescents, World on the Street is entering a new phase and undergoing changes that include a new design, more pages in color, and an art section.