The New Orleans Junior Journalism Program (JRNOLA) empowers BIPOC/LGBTQ+ youth ages 14-18 to pursue careers in print, photography, and broadcast journalism. JRNOLA is changing the narrative of journalism by offering cost-free, real-world experience for underrepresented students to cover stories that impact them. Under the guidance of media professionals, students are provided with pathways to literacy, professional development, civic engagement and curiosity.
FOR VISUAL LEARNERS
BEYOND OUR MISSION
It’s safe to say that there’s nothing like JRNOLA. We don’t believe in the term ‘student journalist.’ Just ‘journalist.’ Few journalism education programs put their journalists straight into professional work after just a couple months training. Since 2017, JRNOLA’s teens have published over 50 articles in professional outlets—Teen Vogue, The Washington Post, New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly and others—with millions of impressions, earning thousands of dollars in freelance wages.
Students earn press credentials to cover major events in professional sports, along with theater, music, arts, and festivals. Our students have interviewed Ken Burns, Carl Weathers, Gayle Benson, mayoral candidates, Tank and the Bangas, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, CJ McCollum and Rickey Jackson.
We believe that if you can observe and document the world around you, there you are: a journalist. It’s a particularly empowering and accessible philosophy for communities who are often told they don’t belong in history books.
In a lot of ways, journalism’s old school, rules-first method of education acts with its gatekeeping foot forward. It prevents people who ‘aren’t of the same mind’ from joining the coveted profession. Instead, JRNOLA teaches empathy, curiosity, and storytelling—essential human qualities—first. The rules, which are vital to maintaining ethical journalism, come after.
Currently, over 90% of our students are BIPOC, over 70% are young women, and 75% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We have a 100% graduation and college attendance rate. The majority of guest speakers are BIPOC/LGBTQ+.
JRNOLA was the brainchild of Sam Joffray, who served as VP of Communications at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. For 20 years Sam incorporated JRNOLA as a pop-up program with the NFL, NBA, NCAA, and other New Orleans events.
In 2017, Allison McCarroll joined him to develop a 2-semester program to give New Orleans youth a more comprehensive pathway to the knowledge economy. Youth submit a writing sample for acceptance and write or produce content regularly for continued participation.
Liam Pierce, a journalist (The New York Times, Vice, The Times-Picayune, StoryCorps) and educator (St. Bernard Public Schools), joined in 2019 for instruction and program operations and has since taken on all development and admin duties. As of Spring 2022, Pierce is currently the only staff member, supported by extraordinary, dedicated volunteers; Joffray and McCarroll now act as board members.
If you are a student passionate about writing, we can help you find stories. We’ll help you strengthen your voice and get published while attending cultural, sporting, and music events throughout the city. Want to make your voice heard? Join us today!
All students are admitted into the program based on an application and submission of writing samples.
Every student, regardless of discipline or skill level, must submit a writing sample for acceptance, and each is required to write regularly for continued participation in the program.
The New Orleans Junior Journalism Program is a Louisiana Non-Profit Corporation founded in 2017. The organization is legally referred to as the New Orleans Junior Journalism Program and is a registered 501(c)(3).
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