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?Ah. I wonder who Olivia plans to work for in the future...?
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.