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20 November, 2008

Youth Act launches eport examining the impact of the representation of young people by the media

Youth Act launches ‘Our Stories - portrayal or betrayal?' a report examining the impact the media's representation of young people has on young people's social and political participation.

Youth Act, the Citizenship Foundation's award-winning political literacy project to engage disadvantaged young people, is pleased to announce the publication of ‘Our Stories', a report that examines the link between the portrayal of young people in the media and its impact on their inclination to take part in social action and politics.

To coincide with this year's National Youth Week (15 - 21 November 2008) Youth Act is launching ‘Our Stories' with an event on the 21st of November that will bring together politicians, youth organisations, young people and the adults who support them.

This year's National Youth Week provides organisations working with young people across the UK the opportunity to change public perceptions of young people and to examine the roles young people play in our communities. According the Prince's Trust, 73 per cent of people feel intimidated or threatened by groups of young people in their local area. But where does this fear come from? Is it based on truth or is the media more prone to reporting negative stories that only reinforce public feelings of fear and suspicion?

‘Our Stories' is a step towards disentangling these issues. The Youth Act team conducted research with young people in three London boroughs using questionnaires and focus groups over 4 weeks. The result is a document that poses some challenging questions to politicians, youth service managers and the media about how their actions affect young people's participation.

As Sarwar, eighteen years old and a member of the Youth Act Urban Union, observed: ‘Media representation of young people is almost always now negative- it's about time young people stood up and had their voice heard'.

The launch event on the 21st November is a chance to meet past Youth Act groups, who will be showcasing their campaigns and demonstrating how they have changed their local communities as well as participating in a debate about young people, the media, social action and politics. Young people, adults who have participated in Youth Act, fellow youth organisations and politicians will also be attending to help recognise the positive actions of young people in the capital.

Further information

To find out more please email:

Notes for editors:

Youth Act is an active citizenship programme which increases young people’s ability to make social and political change in their local community. This is achieved through weekly training sessions with groups of young people and supportive adults, equipping them with the skills to run their own campaign in their local area.

The Prince’s Trust exists to help young people to overcome their barriers and get their lives working. Through practical support it helps 14-30 year-olds to realise their potential and transform their lives. Since the charity was founded by HRH the Prince of Wales in 1976, it has helped over half a million young people.

Youth Act: Our Stories and the launch of the report will be held at 5pm Friday 21st November in the London Living Room, City Hall, London. To book a place or for further information please contact Ade Sofola on 020 7566 5033 or 0785 467 3481.

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