A Reporter's Guide to Adolescent Learning and Well-Being

Overview

A Reporter’s Guide to Adolescent Learning and Well-Being
Hotel Shattuck Plaza • Berkeley, CA
February 27–28, 2020

Recent scientific advances have changed our understanding of the powerful role the adolescent years play in setting life trajectories. This critical period, the bridge between childhood and becoming an adult, is frequently misunderstood.

“Although adolescence is often thought of as a time of turmoil and risk for young people, it is more accurately viewed as a developmental period rich with opportunity for youth to learn and grow,” declared a sweeping 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Recent scientific advances have changed our understanding of the powerful role the adolescent years play in setting life trajectories. This critical period, the bridge between childhood and becoming an adult, is frequently misunderstood.

“Although adolescence is often thought of as a time of turmoil and risk for young people, it is more accurately viewed as a developmental period rich with opportunity for youth to learn and grow,” declared a sweeping 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

What are the implications of this evolving mindset for the education, health and well-being of tweens, teens and emerging adults? How are new findings informing efforts to shape settings for adolescents that are racially and culturally inclusive and equitable? This two-day seminar will offer journalists a primer on the brain research and springboard to an exploration of these questions and others facing the education and health sectors.

Likely topics to address include:

  • How are schools responding to the physical and mental health needs of young people?
  • What’s going right — and wrong — in fostering school climates conducive to the needs of tweens and teens? How does social and emotional learning fit into this?
  • What does cognitive science say about the best ways to teach adolescents? How does this square with common practices in schools?
  • What does “authentic” engagement with youth look like?
  • How are schools adapting to address the well-being of LGBTQ students?
  • Are teenagers getting enough sleep? What are the educational and health impacts, and how are school systems responding?
  • Where can reporters turn for reliable and compelling data on youth behaviors, such as exercise, smoking and e-cigarettes, alcohol and drug use, and birth control?
  • How is heavy exposure to digital screens affecting the teenage brain? How are some educators tapping video games and other digital tools to foster student engagement, health, and learning?

Participants in this journalists-only seminar will come away from this event with a deeper understanding of the issues, practical story ideas, and knowledge of how to find and use valuable data sets to inform their reporting. They also will have the chance to network and build relationships with fellow journalists, as well as experts and educators speaking at the event.

Eligible journalists may apply for scholarships to cover registration and reimburse expenses for lodging and basic travel costs.

Registration for this event is now closed.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Talking With Teens: Tips for Interviewing Adolescents
How finding, and elevating, teen voices enriches reporting

While reporting on a school in a neighborhood with a high homicide rate, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonali Kohli stressed to students she interviewed that they were empowered to control the conversation. 

Many teenagers view a professional journalist as an authority figure and might feel pressure to give “correct” answers, Kohli said. That’s why she starts each interview with the premise that a student can end the conversation at any time or ask their own questions.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Responsible Reporting on LGBTQ Students
Tips for coverage of youths' mental health, well-being, and more

The news media must do a better job of covering the challenges faced by LGBTQ youths, a trio of advocates and educators told journalists attending an Education Writers Association seminar on adolescent learning and well-being in February.

Rob Todaro, the press secretary for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youths, urged reporters to pay more attention to elevated rates of depression and suicide among such youths, saying increased public awareness “will go a long way towards saving lives.”