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Kids Behind the News

Making the pitch. Getting the scoop. Seeking sources. Digging up background research. Setting up interviews. Writing, editing and photographing. All this was the work of members of Children’s Express/Y-Press, an Indiana youth-media news organization, to document stories of young people and the adults who affected their lives.

Known as Children’s Express, and then Y-Press, more than 1,750 young Hoosiers viewed their work as critical, allowing adults to hear from this largely underrepresented voice in mainstream media. From 1990 to 2012, these young journalists interviewed more than 7,500 young people. Their stories appeared in The Indianapolis Star in print and online, and later on WFYI-FM public radio and other media outlets.

In addition, these young Hoosiers, ages 10 to 18, had the opportunity to pitch stories and raise funds to explore in-depth features that focused on youth issues outside the state. They learned to tackle serious topics in a professional manner. They told the stories of kids running the border in Nogales, Arizona, and kids dealing with homegrown terrorism in Oklahoma City. They traveled the world from Cuba to Brazil to Africa to tell compelling stories, but their ongoing stories were about Hoosier kids.

While Children’s Express/Y-Press has ceased to exist, its huge body of work is now part of the Indiana Historical Society’s collection. The collection includes youth-produced research, audio interviews with print transcripts, tearsheets, student artwork and photography that ran with each story, as well as major story packages.

Researchers will find it interesting to discover what issues and narratives were of importance to young people at the turn of the 21st century. Educators can access curricula and archives to teach media literacy, reading and writing nonfiction, researching, and developing questions and interviewing. Children’s Express/Y-Press materials will be part of the July 12 National History Day in Indiana Teacher Workshop at the History Center.

Researchers and educators can access the entire 300-page collection guide here.

The Y-Press Archival and Access Project is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc.; Children's Express/Y-Press alumni, friends and family; Lumina Foundation; the Hoover Family Foundation; and The Indianapolis Star.

Learn More About Y-Press

A documentary film called When Kids Wrote the Headlines: The Children’s Express/Y-Press Story is making its debut in the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater at the History Center Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 6:15 p.m. Reserve your seats here.

In the fall, the 30-minute documentary will air on WFYI. Check WFYI for air dates and times.

The film is a co-production of Children's Express/Y-Press Legacy Project and WFYI Public Media. When Kids Wrote the Headlines: The Children's Express/Y-Press Story is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc.; Children's Express/Y-Press alumni, friends and family; and The Indianapolis Star.