Teens React To VMC Experience

  |  Topic: Atlanta Teen Voices, Inside VOX, VOX Media Cafe
By Alimah Dawkins and Ogechi Ofodu

It was an intense second week for the campers at VOX Media Cafe and yet — keeping with their usual motif — they rose to the challenge. VMCers were tasked with capturing stills, b-roll, and interviews, creating interactive digital content and editing their multimedia packages using Adobe Premiere Elements.

Professional journalists who mentored the teams — including Gwen Anderson and Michaela Vincent from CNN and Turner Broadcasting, filmmaker Bartram Nason, journalist Joe Hirsch, Pete Corson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Chris Sailor of The Creative Circus.

VMCers developed a variety of professional and journalistic skills to create a package that was published and presented at the end of the week in front of their loved ones as well as the VOX staff. 

Related: VMC multimedia packages: A Look Inside LGBTQ Teen Homelessness in AtlantaHow ‘Wonder Woman’ Changes the Game for Female Superheroes and Female DirectorsMeet Atlanta Underground Musicians 404 Villain, A.B.B. MC Miles and Joe Alterman

Now six years running, we asked the VOX Media Cafe 2017 campers about the second week of their #SummerofVOX. Here are their responses.

Royce Mann edits video and audio for his group’s presentation on homelessness in the LGBTQIA+ community.
What has been your favorite part of VMC?

Amir Scott, 14: “I like that everyone gets their own part; you get to do what you want to do. You know, in school you do what the teacher tells you.”

Devon Haller, 14: “My favorite part? Probably learning about video editing, just ‘cause I’ve always kinda wanted to know how to do that type of stuff and Ive never been good at it, but now I really am and I know what I’m doing..”

Calvin Walden, 15: “Interviewing, because I ain’t never interviewed nobody … and the writing part.”

Chris Jordan, 14: “Being able to follow a story and explore the city, because I feel like putting us out in the field makes us feel like real journalists.”

Bryson Manns, 16: “Interacting with everybody…hanging out, making new friends.”

Sian Stephens, 17: “The food court downstairs, because I get really hungry and I can just go get whatever I want, … My second favorite part, all the people here are really nice and it’s like a cute little community. And it’s really fun. I like the energizers and stuff at the beginning. i like writing, too; this journalism thing is really fun for me.”

Amina Farlow, 13: “Probably all the energizers and going to visiting different places… It was really interesting, and I learned a lot.”

Royce Mann, 15: “The independence we had as VMCers, to go out and get the content for our stories. I think we had some really cool and interesting experiences because of that. Also, the people they had come in to teach us about different topics, like photography day, was a lot of fun — and interviewing day. …Just the trust that VOX gives teenagers is by far the best part because it gives you the freedom to … really trust your story.

Kaylynn Parks, 16: “Working with my other two team remembers and creating something I am honestly really, really proud of, that I think is really really good.”

Devon Haller and Calvin Walden research for Breaking News Day, where VMCers were tasked with finding a topical subject and completing a story on it before the end of the day.

Amir: “The framing and interviewing”

Devon: “Probably, this may not be a good answer like, everything. Just the skills on the computer, the journalism skills, the camera and photo skills, the group work skills and also…interviewing..”

Calvin: “The interviewing, learning how to ask question and keep [the conversation] going”

Chris: “The use of cameras with journalism; also writing stuff down and certain interviewing techniques and interviewing.”

Bryson: “My VOX Family”

Sain: “Not be scared to use my voice, because I wouldn’t have done this without my mom pushing me, but then everybody makes you feel so comfortable …  to speak your mind and makes you want to do it more. Like at school I know I have these talents but i don’t use them, and here I don’t feel afraid to use them.”

Kamina: “Don’t be scared to say how you feel and act how you want to. … I made friends and stuff here so I am not as nervous.”

Royce: “In my group there were two other VMCers and to work to create a story on our own — with a little help from mentors but mainly on our own — that’s really cool … having a product at the end and sorta knowing that you can and that you have the ability to do that, working in a team, is always a really a good and an educational experience.”

Kaylynn: “Definitely the skills you need to go out and talk to people with the interviewing skills, it’s not as easy as it seems to come up with meaningful questions … to be able to walk up to random person is really important.”

Nyah: “I just think all the work that goes into producing a piece, whether it’s an article or a video, it’s not something you can do super easily, it’s a lot of thought that goes into it, deadline that go with it. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it — you make a good piece.”

Krystal: “Interviewing, ‘cause I want to be a reporter.”

Alimah, 19, and Ogechi, 19, are VOX teen interns this summer. 

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