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YMCA Victoria Youth Press Gallery Program Report 2020

Program overview Youth Press Gallery is a program for young people, aged 16-25, that is facilitated by YMCA Victoria and funded by the Victorian Government to gain experience and skills in journalism, videography, photography and social media. Participants in 2020 served as the Press Gallery for YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament, writing articles about the program and the issues being debated for a variety of publications, including print, online and social media. Although YMCA Youth Press Gallery program in 2020 faced unchartered territory with the COVID-19-induced lockdowns, the program was highly successful in adapting to an online format. In a first for the program, platforms such as Zoom were

effectively utilised to conduct meetings, training sessions and interviews with Youth Parliament teams. The Youth Press Gallery program equips participants with experiences and skills relevant for careers in journalism, media, politics and public policy. Key activities to achieve these outcomes include organising professional journalists to deliver workshops and guiding participants to pitch their work to external media outlets. The program also provides mentorship opportunities with participants having access to the Program Director and Media Adviser, who can provide training and practical examples of editing work and advice any journalism-related questions.

“YPG provides high-quality journalistic training, encourage participants to pitch to news outlet (not student publications). The program is a taste on being a real life political journalist.”

– 2020 Youth Press Gallery Participant

Timeline First participant meeting and introduction to the program, 27 April

Participant applications 23 February

Closing ceremony 29 September

Applications closed 29 March Participants accepted into the program 6 April

Participant training (a few hours of training spread out over a few Saturdays)

Youth Parliament team interviews 8 August

20 June – 8 August

Participant snapshot

13 participants selected from 26 applications with a 27% live disability.

36% identified as LGBTQ+

postgraduate studies



secondary school

not currently studying

Regional/ Rural







identified as

and/or 36% culturally linguistically diverse



of participants agreed their skills and knowledge increased of media industry

undergraduate tertiary study


of participants are more positive as a result of the program


of participants feel empowered to make change in their community


of participants agreed the program was delivered to a high standard


of participants agreed the program allowed them to be heard and respected in society


of participants would recommend the program to their peers.


of participants agreed the skills learnt would be hard to learn in a classroom setting

Reflections from 2020 participants

“ “ “ “ “ “ “

” ” ” ” ” ” ”

It’s a very welcoming space and easy to reach out for help when needed, also the workshops provide very practical advice.

I enjoyed meeting other young people interested in making the desired change as journalists and at a parliamentary level and to meet with journalists from within the industry.

The workshops organised by Maggy and Ashleigh were really interesting and helpful! it was great to hear from such experienced journalists in a fairly informal setting, and get their advice and ask questions.

The workshops we were able to attend given by established (and mostly quite young!) journalists were really inspiring and interesting. Definitely the highlight.

I liked how practical it was. It was more than just learning about journalism. The guest speakers were terrific and I was impressed by who we got to speak to.

(The Youth Press Gallery program) offers a platform to practice political journalism with a group of energetic, passionate and thoughtful young people.

YPG provides high-quality journalistic training, encourage participants to pitch to news outlet (not student publications). The program is a taste on being a real life political journalist.

Program highlights Participant articles were published in: • SBS • Pro Bono Australia • Sunraysia Daily • Warrnambool Standard • Shepparton News • Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser • Euroa Gazette • MOJO News • Brimbank & North West Star Weekly

Participants were privy to workshops run by some of Australia’s best journalists and editors, including: Amy Remeikis,

Angus Livingston,

Corrinne Podger,

Political journalist with Guardian Australia

Bureau chief with The Age/Sydney Morning Herald

A trainer for journalists at Reuters and the BBC

Amber Schultz,

Lane Sainty,

Natasha MacFarlane,

Crikey investigative reporter

Former Buzzfeed News Oz editor and reporter

WIN Television journalist and former YPG participant

Recommendations for 2021 • Continue utilising online technology such as Zoom to attract workshop facilitators who many not have been able to commit in the past due to geographical or time restrictions. • Future programs to be delivered as blended online and in-person model. • Undertake a more targeted promotion campaign for participant applications through university journalism schools, university student media, YMCA social media and websites, and MPs involved in the programs. • Utilise the YMCA’s new website technology for participant applications, including new levels of agreement to terms and conditions of participation (eg: tick box agreeing to all requirements of the program). • Consider a tiered approach to participants: 1. General Participants – applications as per previous year’s requirements. 2. ‘Experienced’ Participants/ Editors – assist Program Director and Media advisor with editing responsibilities. Role to be advertised in application process, with added requirement of submitting samples of work for eligibility. • Identify levels of participant experience and understanding of components of the program, with consideration to having tailored sessions to upskill all to a ‘base’ level – eg: “journalism 101” workshop for participants with less experience.

2020 Youth Press Gallery Members:

Annette Syahlani

Bri Hines

Hachins D’Souza

Jesse Munzel

Laura Placella

Lee Robinson

Lucy Turton

Mark Yin

Matthew McDonald

Pranjali Sehgal

Wing Kuang

Winter Greet

Xenia Sanut

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