December 9, 2009

Teen writers tackle recession, Sinterklaas' "Black Pete"

This week's edition of The Tattoo features a story from the Netherlands about the controversy over Zwarte Piet, the Sambo-like black helper of St. Nicholas who brings toys to children on Sinterklaas, a holiday celebrated recently that clearly has some ties to the sort of Christmas tradition in the United States. Zwarte Piet is a beloved figure in the Netherlands, used to advertise all sorts of products, but to American eyes at least it looks like something from the days of Jim Crow.
Here's one of Youth Journalism International's Caroline Nelissen's photographs that accompanied her stellar story:

In addition, four Youth Journalism International reporters in Connecticut fanned out Saturday at a legislative hearing to get the story of how the recession is affecting young people in the state. Reporters Francis Byrne, Kiernan Majerus-Collins, Mary Majerus-Collins and Yelena Samofalova delivered three stories that provide a telling glimpse into the hardships many young Americans face in these difficult days. Here is the beginning of one of the stories:

Latasha Fitzwilliams is one of many Americans affected by poverty.

"In our fridge right now, there's about two things: a half bottle of juice and a box of eggs," said the 20-year-old from Hartford.

*That's supposed to be food for five people: her sick mother, her unemployed stepfather and two siblings.
Read the rest.

As always, we appreciate any constructive criticism, tips and suggestions. We'd appreciate it if you would pass this along to any teens in your life (or those who care about the next generation). We love giving young people a voice.
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