You might think the Los Angeles Times would do pretty much anything to keep the loyalty of possibly the last teenagers in L.A. who still consume news in print. But no. Publisher Eddy Hartenstein has sent word to the students who produce L.A. Youth that the Times will no longer carry the cost of printing the country's biggest non-profit teen newspaper. I've seen jaws literally drop at hearing this news the last couple of days; the money is small for the Times and the impact great. L.A. Youth is now faced with possibly suspending after the next issue. A little background:
L.A. Youth was created in 1988 after a U.S. Supreme Court decision empowered school administrators to control the content of school newspapers. Many high school journalism programs and newspapers were devastated by this decision. L.A. Youth filled the void by restoring a free press and creating for young people a journalism program that fosters critical thinking, writing skills, literacy and civic education....
L.A. Youth newspaper now has a readership of 500,000 in Los Angeles County, and a website at www.layouth.com that attracts more than 45,000 visitors a month. We've also launched a special project to publish the work of youth in the foster care system. Many alums have graduated from college and have built on their experiences at L.A. Youth to have success in careers in journalism, teaching, research, and some other fields.
Oh for crissakes. LA Observed is throwing in a hundred bucks — the email going around town that follows has ways to contribute.
L.A. Youth, the award-winning newspaper by and about teens, needs help to keep providing Los Angeles County teens with the only independent outlet to publish the stories affecting their lives.
Due to record downturns in the economy that have ravaged newspaper revenues, the Los Angeles Times can no longer afford to generously print and distribute the newspaper for free. Coupled with curtailed grants from foundations, L.A. Youth's ability to keep bringing difference-making narratives about gang violence, the foster care system, harrasment of LGBT students, college, dating, etc. is threatened.
With a circulation of 120,000 copies L.A. Youth is the largest non-profit teen newspaper in the United States, with each of the six issues reaching 500,000 readers in more than 1,300 classrooms.
The McCormick Foundation has offered L.A. Youth a $15,000 grant to help offset the increased cost.
This comes as the number of students participating has never been higher and the teachers' needs for it has never been more critical.
L.A. Youth's goal is to raise $50,000 to preserve the current press run so that no student, teacher, social worker or school counselor who wants the paper as a resource has to go without. Help us continue providing the newspaper to schools, group homes and libraries for free.
Go to layouth.com/donate to donate online via PayPal or learn how to send a donation to L.A. Youth.
Myrow, the founder and publisher, was an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles and a writer and editor in the Watts Writers Workshop founded by Budd Schulberg. Here's a Sandy Banks column in the Times last year about the paper.