Saturday, October 30, 2010

Boo! YJI Reporter Discovers Trick-or-Treating on Halloween

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Last year, Youth Journalism International gained a wonderful new writer, Yelena Samofalova. At the same time, Yelena gained a new custom: trick-or-treating.
For many American children, trick-or-treating is an annual tradition and as normal as any holiday. But Yelena, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Connecticut, U.S.A. as a little girl, had never celebrated Halloween or gone trick-or-treating. For her, it was a foreign custom, but one that intrigued her.
She got permission to go out on Halloween night with a group of friends last year and was completely amazed at the experience.
She wrote a delightful piece about it for Youth Journalism International. It turned out to be the first of many, as Yelena went on to write many types of journalism, from news stories about serious issues to play reviews.
Check out Yelena's work here:

YJI's Facebook Fanbase is Growing

We have an increasing number of fans of Youth Journalism International on Facebook. If you use Facebook and aren't a fan of YJI there, please join us!
Also, if you like this blog, sign on as a follower through Blogger and don't miss a thing! We are also on Twitter and Tumblr, too, doing our best to stay on top of all social media.
Please feel free to pass along, or "re-tweet" these little messages. We're doing our best to get the word out about YJI and help our base of support grow. We appreciate all our students, alums, their parents and families and of course, our many readers and donors.
We can't do it without you!

Antony and Cleopatra at Hartford Stage

Students from Youth Journalism International attended a recent performance of Antony & Cleopatra at Hartford Stage and loved it. Thanks to Hartford Stage photographer T. Charles Erickson for the photo.
As for the show, YJI reviewers Kiernan Majerus-Collins and Celeste Kurz put their thoughts together:

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Antony & Cleopatra, now playing at Hartford Stage, is a show filled with drama and top-notch acting.
Kate Mulgrew was tremendously convincing as Cleopatra, the demanding, scheming, self-centered Egyptian queen.
As originally penned by playwright William Shakespeare, the part of Cleopatra required Mulgrew to have an amazing ability to probe the mind of the privileged elite of the ancient world. Despite being surrounded by luxury far exceeding that of the common person, she still felt plagued by the ill fortune brought on by her own poor choices.
John Douglas Thompson’s adept portrayal of Antony delivered the character’s vast emotional fluctuations. He effectively switched between deep depression and near maniacal happiness in a matter of seconds. The scene in which Antony kills himself best showed his acting capability; such emotional range is not often seen.
See the whole review here:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Coast To Coast For Charity

Here's an adventure story just perfect for Youth Journalism International. It involves two young men from different parts of the United States and a buddy from Australia, challenging themselves to the ride of a lifetime for the good of African children.
Youth Journalism International reporter Talon Bronson did a terrific job writing a news story about their their charitable journey. Thanks to rider James Groeneveld for supplying us with awesome photos from the trip.
The three young college men pictured above (left to right: Trey Meyer of New Orleans, Tom Foley Jr. of Connecticut and James Groeneveld of Brisbane, Australia), pedaled across America this summer to raise money for bikes for Zambian kids.
They started on the Atlantic coast in Virginia, crossed several mountain ranges, saw buffalo and bear, long stretches of highway and gorgous sunsets. They slept in tents, churches, private homes, motels and even a fire station.
Motivated by a desire to raise money for children in Zambia to have bikes to ride to school, the three friends biked all the way to Oregon's Pacific coast.
As their journey neared its end, they met up with Talon in Portland, Oregon, and shared their story.
Talon's piece for Youth Journalism International starts below:

PORTLAND, Oregon, U.S.A. – In Western Missouri, a few days out from Kansas, the weather took a turn for the worse.
The pressure dropped in the area, the first sign of the beginning of a tornado, formed by the movement of a cloud close to the ground, rapidly rising, creating a mini vacuum beneath it.
A cloud has to be of just the right size to become a tornado, of course. If the cloud is too big, it will not precipitate uniformly, and so not rise uniformly, but rather, in sections. On the other hand, a cloud that is too small will not produce enough precipitation to create the pressure underneath needed for the formation.
On that day, it was Tom Foley Jr., Trey Meyer, and James Groeneveld’s luck that the clouds were just right.

Read the whole story here:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

YJI alum talks about growing up gay in Nebraska

Catch this Boston University video featuring former Youth Journalism International writer Zac Brokenrope talking about growing up gay in Nebraska:

Watch this video on YouTube

You can read Zac's brilliant journals by clicking on this link.

A Facebook Fan Checks Out "The Social Network"

Youth Journalism International Reporter Talon Bronson of Portland, Oregon recently went to see "The Social Network," a new movie based on the formation of Facebook. He wondered whether the film would make him look at Facebook differently in the future.
For the answer, and an interesting review of the film, go to:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Los Angeles: A Fair Share of Kooks and the Nicest Strangers

Elaine Truong, a junior reporter for Youth Journalism International, introduces readers to Los Angeles, via her day spent on mass transportation. She says the city has "its fair share of kooks and the nicest strangers I've ever met."
Elaine's piece is part of YJI's ongoing My Hometown series that gives students a chance to shine a spotlight on their own little corner of the world.
Check the piece on LA here:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

YJI Gives The Inside Story on Peaceful South African Student Protest

Click HereWhen she's not a busy medical student at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, Mariechen Puchert is a senior reporter for Youth Journalism International.
So committed is Mariechen that she paid a visit in June to YJI's Connecticut headquarters to meet us and a lot of other YJI students and alumni. YJI is, after all, a very friendly and welcoming bunch!
Students at Mariechen's university held a peaceful protest recently about increases in tuition and student fees. She wrote about it for YJI and took this photo of Stephan Nel.
You can check out what she wrote, as well as a few more photos, at this link:

Using The Bill of Rights to Help Immigrants and Refugees

What do you get when you mix a musical composition of The Bill of Rights and a desire to help immigrants and refugees who are coming to America?
In New Haven, Connecticut, recently, Youth Journalism International's senior reporter Kiernan Majerus-Collins found out.
He attended a benefit concert for the organization Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. On the musical menu that night was composer Neely Bruce's stirring work, "The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets."
Read Kiernan's report here:

Busy Times at YJI

We've been so busy helping students with terrific stories lately that we've done a poor job of getting the word out. Please bear with us and keep checking back to this blog for more! Also, check out the independent, online teen newspaper,, which publishes a lot of YJI work.

A Perspective on the Commonwealth Games

Youth Journalism International Reporter Pushkal Shivam in Mumbai gives readers an idea of what some of India's youth think about their country hosting the Commonwealth Games:

MUMBAI, India – On the cusp of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Indian youth viewed their nation’s prominence on the world stage with mixed feelings.“I love my country, and it therefore comes to me as a huge disappointment to witness the Commonwealth Games fiasco,” said 17-year-old Roohani Deshpande, who lives in Jabalpur in the heart of India and is pictured here. “I feel so angry, let down and embarrassed.”
Click HereA furious Deshpande thinks the lack of planning and vision on the part of the country’s politicians have turned India into a laughingstock.
“What responsibility are our leaders showing?” asked Deshpande. “An event which could have easily contributed to national pride has now turned into a disgrace. Their carelessness and indifference towards their role is tarnishing the image of the entire country!”
But Sanket Ray, 19, a student of Mass Media at the KC College in Mumbai, took a positive view, saying one event cannot decide everything.
Hosting the Commonwealth Games is “a very great achievement,” said Ray, who added that a Formula One race is also coming to India. “We all should support it.”
To see the whole story, go to:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Remembering Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi, with his church youth group last year. (photo provided)

By Cresonia Hsieh
Junior Reporter, Youth Journalism International

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., U.S.A. – The sanctuary, or “big church” as we called it, looked plain and old with its dark brown pews, walls painted off white and a deep red carpet.
Though New Jersey’s Grace Church had a rather boring appearance at first, rays of sunlight poured from large glass windows and the people who packed the pews and worshiped the Lord with music and sermons filled it with enthusiasm and life.
Among the nearly 200 people gathered on Sunday mornings at Grace Church, one teenage boy captured everyone’s ear. Tyler Clementi, a red-haired boy with round glasses and brown freckles spotting his serious but composed face, stood up front, off to the side.
He was reserved and didn’t stand out as either incredibly tall or muscular.
It was Tyler’s music that turned heads to stop and stare.
As he played his violin during worship hymns or church offerings, Tyler’s sound was clear as a bell.
It cut through the silent church, mesmerizing everyone in the room.
The notes he played were ever-changing, but always smooth and soothing.
Tyler played with passion and grace with every stroke of his arm and touch of his delicate fingers to the strings.
There aren’t really any words to fully describe the beauty of his music, but I can say that he was an incredibly talented violinist with a promising and bright future ahead of him.
Not only was he gifted in the arts, but he was very involved in our little church, attending many youth group activities and never ceasing to amaze us all every Sunday morning.
Tragically, a horrible act of bullying and cruelty is the reason to why this is all I know, or will ever know, about the young and gifted Tyler Clementi.  Click here for the full story.