Young Londoners Tell the British Media How It Really Is

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Young Londoners Tell the British Media How It Really Is

United Kingdom
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Young people being able to represent themselves in the media, to combat the negative perception protrayed of them.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the UK, young people in general are misrepresented in the mainstream media. The mainstream media portray a negative image of young people and this is false perception is fed to the nation and as a result the stereotype placed on young people is that they are generally a problem. Unfortunately young people do not have the opportunity to tackle this negative image placed on them and they don’t have opportunity to express their opinions on certain issues that affect them through the mainstream media and this needed to be changed. Currently the ‘older generation’ are writing about young people and there is a need to allow the ‘younger generation’ to write about themselves and their views. The target market is currently London and South East England, although the need is UK wide so our aim is to reach across the UK.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We want to provide opportunities for young people to express their opinions so that young people can promote positive change. The big issue is that it’s not the priority of national newspapers to publish the views of young people and we don’t think they know how to, this is why we will be filling a gap in the market. The solution is that young people should be given the opportunity to contribute to key discussions that affect them or on current affairs. Our writers will produce articles that will (we plan to) be published in the mainstream media organisations like The Guardian newspaper. Our aim is to create youth columns with 5 national newspapers over the next year. During that period, we will recruit and train young writers (aged 16-25) and mentors, who will help our writers to produce the articles. Once these articles are published online, we believe hundreds of comments will be made their readers, which will ignite debates and discussions and our young writers will have the opportunity to take part in these discussions. This project will, we believe, challenge the negative perception of young people in the media and start to create a positive image of young people in society.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

You Press piloted an online column called ‘Youth Tell Us’, in partnership with The Guardian’s Comment is Free (CiF) subsidiary. Our young writers wrote their pieces on subjects such as Education, Political Participation, Volunteering, Multiculturism, to name a few, and three of theses were published online. These articles were published on the CiF website in June 2011 and judging by the amount of comments left by readers after each of the articles were published (into the hundreds), it is clear that these articles had received a large amount of interest and there was an evident need of such material. The You Press process/model is relatively simple but very effective. We pair these young writers with mentors (who work on a voluntary basis) based on common interests, these mentors help create these articles. Our mentors are very experienced and some have journalistic experience, others are teachers and youth workers. The mentors and writers were paired in a training workshop we ran earlier in the year.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our competitors are Catch22, Headliners and Media Trust. The challenge that we face with our competitors is that they are established charities and they have been supported by large funding bodies. What differentiates us from them however is that we place a strong emphasis on being financially sustainable by operating as a business using our social enterprise model. Also our organisation is completely youth-led and was born out of a community campaign run by young people from a disadvantaged borough.
About You
You Press
About You
About Your Organization
Organization Name

You Press

Organization Country


Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

In 2009 four young people including myself aged between 24-26 years old from Newham, East London met on a politics and public leadership programme called UpRising run by the Young Foundation. During this time negative coverage of young people was rife in the media (through stories on hoodies, gang violence and teenage pregnancies), particularly in national newspapers in the UK. The four youngsters namely Lé N Ho, Shahin Ullah, Farah Mohammoud and Ola Akin decided it was time to do something about this! And so the You Press team was born!

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

We believe that opinion pieces written and produced by young people should not only be read by other young people but should also be read by older people. We believe that the number of people that the project could affect is endless. We’ve piloted our first three articles on our online column called Youth Tell Us, which amassed a total of over 600 comments. We believe this will motivate young people to take responsibility to improve our society rather than to complain about it. Thus whilst we have had an effect on a local and national level, eventually we hope to have an affect internationally also. All members of our team have taken part in international training events and have promoted You Press internationally in countries such as the USA, Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany and Belgium.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

We believe the You Press model has room for major growth. Our aim is to work with all types of media organisations such as the news channels to leading higher education institutions. We believe that our way of working can be replicated across many countries starting in Europe where we have begun to build networks and potential partnerships.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Our six-month milestone is to have published young people’s articles in at least 2 other national newspapers

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Successfully fundraise for at least £2,000 to recruit and train more writers and mentors

Task 2

Proposal a youth column with at least 5 potential national newspapers

Task 3

Deliver first product (workshops)

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

To have at least 30 youth articles published in at least 5 national newspapers whilst contributing to our database of articles

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Establish an ongoing column with at least five national newspapers

Task 2

Identify an I.T. partner/sponsor to host our database

Task 3

Recruit and train at least 50 young writers and 50 mentors

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101 - 1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured


What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Part time voluteering has played a part in our steady progress. The team are all full time employees working for different organisations during working hours and then work on You Press during the evening and weekends on a volutary basis. The aim is to make one of the core members a paid full time employee of You Press in the first instance to grow the business. As the business grows, the intention is to make another core member a paid full time employee and also employ 2 people to support in admin work.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

I see IT playing a big part in the next few decades, more people are using social networking sites, blogging sites, thus information has become available to a lot more people, a lot quicker than it used to. It has been predicted that we are moving into an era where news will be shared in a more participatory way through local active journalism. I think that You Press will fill a significant gap in the journalism market and provide a social bridge between local communities and their engagement in mainstream media production.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

Although we strongly believe this project will work due to the success of our pilot with The Guardian, we are planning to work on different projects, which we hope will enable us make You Press a successful social enterprise. One of our upcoming work is to create and broadcast a database of young people’s opinion pieces and articles, and we aim to work in partnership with higher education institutions, local government and the national government.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

In January 2011, we registered as a company limited by guarantee. Our aim is to make You Press a self sustaining social enterprise. We have and are continuing to build our partnerships and networks with various NGOs, businesses, media organisations. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, it is exactly how we came across Changemakers, one of our contacts recommended this competition to us. You Press aims to be a self sustaining social enterprise by charging customers for training workshops and helping young people become journalists.

Tell us about your partnerships

We have built up a range of partnerships and sponsors, which include the Young Foundation, Praxis, GKP and Virgin Media. Our main partnership is with The Guardian newspaper. Our organisation is a grassroots enterprise with a highly ambitious venture. We have utilised our support networks, which has connected us to wider links with organisations such as The Guardian. The positive, progressive and fruitful relationship that we have with them enables us to explore future ideas.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

There are currently a core team of four young professionals who manage You Press and work on a voluntary basis, along with six mentors (for writers) who also work on voluntary basis, as and when required. The intention is to pay two of the four core team members and employ an additional 2-3 members of staff, to support in admin work and website maintenance, one may work on voluntary basis.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.).

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

We are experienced in youth journalism, youth participation and youth enterprises. For over 2 years now we have promoted youth activism through youth-led entrepreneurship and youth-led journalism. We are experienced in delivering interactive peer-led training and workshops.

Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

We believe young people should be represented in the mainstream media so they can promote positive change.