Sunday, 26 June 2011

No, Olivia, The Kids Aren’t Alright…

Olivia Heath is a journalism graduate from Kingston University. She’s also pretty angry about, guess what, yoof issues:
Flicking through the tabloids and broadsheets, watching prime-time TV news and trailing through web content, I realise that we have a problem – a big one.
Spelling and punctuation..?
The youth of today are suffering from age discrimination.
Ah. Right. Of course they are, love.
Stamped with the "hoodies" or "chav" label and thought of as an unruly, disrespectful and dangerous bunch, we are simultaneously marginalised and stigmatised, turned into a blurry, menacing entity that does not reflect our lives.
Sadly, for many on sink estates, it does reflect them, all too well.
While it is true that some individuals conform to the stereotypical youth image and make it somewhat worse for others, we are still vastly misrepresented. However, it is not necessarily about the way news is constructed, but about the news selection process itself. Why print a story about a young person's individual success when one can print more popular stories of grim teen failures?
Well, you're a journalism graduate. Shouldn't you know?
I am not oblivious to what the public wants; after all, for a lot of journalists "bad news is good news".
Ah. She did learn something, then...
But good news for whom? Surely not for teenagers, who have little or no power to speak out in their defence.
Pardon? Here you are in a national newspaper, broadcasting to the nation, in fact, to all nations with a Internet connection.

And that's before we get to the plethora of agencies and fakecharities lobbying on their behalf.
Even though the media's role and impact on the issue should not be dismissed, I suppose this argument is aimed at people who rely on news to be informed and form their own opinions. They should be recognising the positive contributions that young people make in communities, and listening to their concerns too.
Or else..?
The public's perceptions need to change. A more open-minded approach to individuals would hopefully stimulate less fear amongst others.
The public's perceptions will change when the reality changes.

When we start seeing fewer vicious little animals on their 99th court appearance getting yet another slap on the wrist. When they see their 80 year old grandmother can go to the shops without needing to watch her back for the roving packs of yoof looking to knock her to the ground and steal what little she has. When kids on sink estates aren't having kids of their own at 15.

Why spend so much time and effort worrying about perceptions, and next to nothing dealing with the problems themselves? Are they too hard to tackle, require too many difficult choices, force the progressives to confront too many failed assumptions?

And I was curious - why was this article written?
The Youth Tell Us series has been commissioned by Comment is free in conjunction with You Press Partnerships, a youth-led social enterprise that promotes and explores the opinions of young people through media partnerships.
Ah. I wonder who Olivia plans to work for in the future...?


Anonymous said...

My dear Olivia,

Rarely does the puke factor in journalism prevent me from reading all....oops! there we go, luv.

The Poster Formerly Known As SBC said...

I got to know a lot of the local hoodies and chavs through my own, now supposedly growed up, sons.

If I think about those Kids, all of them were exactly that sort of 'on my hundreff ASBO if I could like count that fecking high innit'. But now a acouple of years down the line they have all changed.

Mostly for the better...although one of them is doing Life on the installment Plan cos he can't control his temper.

Two of them have joined Crown Forces and served in whichever illegal arab war. One of them died due to an IED, the other was injured and is mustering out.

Some of the other lads spent some time(s) inside and now work shit jobs for MW to feed their 'wife' and her kid ...the kid she had by another man when still legally a kid herself. Their biggest dream is to get a job at the local fish factory and save up a deposit for a house (dream on).

Another one works in catering during the summer and then fucks off around the world every winter to smoke dope in India and 'find himself' and will probably end up going to university...even if he doesn't know it himself yet.

I could go on but my point is that the Yoof do often grow up to be worthwhile and fairly nice people.

...they just need care, love, understanding and a regular smack in the gob.

David Thompson said...

A journalism graduate who deploys the word somewhat is claiming to be “marginalised and stigmatised” as a “blurry, menacing entity.” Some people just can’t wait to embrace pretentious victimhood. Why, it’s almost as if they’re being… well, schooled in it.

As you say, a career at the Guardian, possibly the BBC, seems all but inevitable.

Lynne said...

It is the media that is responsible for this warped perception because most kids aren't absolute scumbags. For example, how many stories has the media written about teen yobs who beat up old ladies and rob them blind? Compare them to the many (ahem) stories of responsible teens helping the elderly across the street and carrying their shopping bags. And now this media whore is screaming victimhood on the granny bashers behalf? What a twunt.

WV mingest - how appropriate

James Higham said...

I realise that we have a problem – a big one.

Spelling and punctuation..?

Spilt my coffee.

Furor Teutonicus said...

There was someone else who hid all the bad points of a nation by only allowing "good news", what was his name now.....?

Ahhh, THAT was it, Goebbels!

Man Bites Dog said...

How most journalism works: "If it bleeds, it leads"

Except at the Graun or Indy or Beeb: "If it whines, it gets headlines."

TPFKASBC said...

"Except at the Graun or Indy or Beeb: "If it whines, it gets headlines."

*SNORK* I hadn't heard that one before!

JuliaM said...

"...they just need care, love, understanding and a regular smack in the gob."

Without the first three, the last will do more harm than good.

"... a career at the Guardian, possibly the BBC, seems all but inevitable."

Indeed. I'll be on the lookout for her.

"WV mingest - how appropriate"

Sometimes that thing's almost sentient...

"*SNORK* I hadn't heard that one before!"

Me neither!