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An opportunity for young writers

May 14, 2015
Editorial , Lake Placid News

The Young Voices of New York launched a year ago. It is a news website on which writers under the age of 14 try their hands at journalism.

Since then we've read interesting articles on by young writers from all over the state - reviewing places to go, new books to read or new movies to watch - but so far we haven't seen anything by local students.

It would make a great summer project for teachers and/or parents to recommend to young people who show some talent for writing. Also, teachers might consider it as an extracurricular opportunity for the fall semester.

Young Voices of New York is organized by the New York News Publishers Association. This is not another place for young writers to express themselves as they wish. Rather, it's a place for them to work on genuine assignments: conducting interviews, reporting on interesting things in their communities and writing book and movie reviews, all under the direction of an experienced, award-winning reporter and editor with a strong background in education.

All it takes to participate is parental permission, a completed application and the desire to become a writer. It costs nothing to sign up, but participants pay with hard work as they learn responsibility along with clear, professional writing skills.

Here's how it works:

All YVNY reporters receive emails suggesting potential stories and reviews. They choose the opportunities they would like to try, and if chosen for an assignment, they are then provided with whatever help and advice they need.

The young reporter then writes his or her story and posts it to the website. Before it appears for everyone to see, however, it has to be approved by the editor, who may offer suggestions or ask for changes or clarification - just like in a newsroom.

After that, anyone may read the stories. However, only other young people registered with YVNY may post comments below the articles, making it a safe, comfortable place for them to display their talent.

It's also a great place to learn about the rest of the state and what interests kids in those places. In northern New York, a boy from Peru wrote about a museum in Montreal with a gigantic dinosaur skeleton, and a girl from Lowville wrote about her community's annual cream cheese festival, something most New Yorkers probably have no idea about.

Member newspapers may choose to publish the stories, giving them an even wider audience.

If you know someone under 14 who likes to write, go with them to and see the possibilities. Questions? Contact Mary Miller at or 518-265-6201.

NYNPA and its member newspapers have worked for years to help teachers, libraries and educational organizations through the Newspapers in Education program. Now they are reaching out directly to talented young writers and their parents. It helps everyone: Young writers get a fantastic chance to improve and share their abilities, and other kids and adults get to read what these young people have to say. And newspapers? Well, we're interested in training the next generation of journalists.



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