As of this week Czech teenagers have one more forum where they can air their views on any subject under the sun. The latest internet magazine on the Czech scene is called JUNIORPRESS and it is expected to bring a whole new dimension to the Czech media scene - the world as seen through the eyes of Czech teenagers. Daniela Lazarova has the story:
The CTK Press agency finally has a proper rival. Youngsters over 12 are preparing to give Czech journalists a run for their money. The JUNIORPRESS project involves schools across the country, creating a network of young journalists specializing in news, current affairs reports and features. The internet magazine will not only report on what's happening on the teenage-scene in the Czech Republic it will also reflect teenagers views on world and domestic affairs. The "features" section is open to all forms of creativity - and will include short stories and poems. The project has the blessing and support of the education ministry, as well as a great many private sponsors, and is part of a broader attempt to give teenagers "a voice" in the media. For several years now Czech teenagers have been involved in Youth Radio and Youth TV projects. Youth TV can be seen on regional cable television but increasingly Prima TV, one of the country's two private television networks, is taking over short reports for its own broadcasts.
Lucie Douchova is one of the adult producers currently helping out at Youth TV:
"The main thing is that the TV is made by children. Children do everything. They produce it, shoot it, edit it . We adults just try to lead them so that they make television that is not commercial, we try to get them to be original, to express their own opinions ." And they pick their own topics. What kind of things have you covered? "Well, that depends only on the children. They watch what is going on in the world and take it from there....some children are interested in culture, some are interested in sports -it is individual."
What kind of target group does this TV have?
"I think that teenagers watch it mainly."
Do you expect grown-ups to watch it? Do you expect them to learn more about their children by watching YOUTH TV ?
"I think it would be great if adults watched it because they would see that children can make television and that they are very good at it."
So are you actually filling a gap on the market?
" Well, we are trying to get the children to do something. To be interested in something. We don't want them wandering in the streets , whiling away time doing nothing..."
How do they actually get involved? Can they just call you?
"Of course. They can call me and it is very simple. They can get involved right away. And then it depends on them whether they will stay with the project or leave."
Youth TV has been around for sometime now and its network of correspondents is expanding beyond the country's borders. The ten Youth TV studios functioning at various schools across the Czech Republic have established contacts with similar organizations in Hungary, Belgium and Slovakia. JUNIORPRESS is expected to become an important part of life at Czech schools and media experts are pushing for "media education" to become a part of the national curricula. As they say "with the Internet the world's a global village" so - if you speak Czech and would like to know what Czech teenagers think of the world around them - visit the JUNIORPRESS web site at www.juniorpress.cz.
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