Arlington Career Center | 816 S. Walter Reed St. | Arlington, VA | 22204

ACC Chronicle

ACC Chronicle

Arlington Career Center | 816 S. Walter Reed St. | Arlington, VA | 22204

ACC Chronicle

24 with ‘24: Sophia Lander
24 with '24
24 with ‘24: Sophia Lander
Lydia Blackwell, Staff Reporter • April 23, 2024

24 with ’24 is a Chronicle series where we ask 24 questions to a member of the class of ’24. Between now and June, we’ll shine a spotlight...

Song of Daphne
Creative Writing
Song of Daphne
Heibein, Guest Reporter • April 22, 2024

What will you do, when he’s coming for you? Oh, Daphne. What will you do? He’s bright as the sun, nowhere to run. Oh, Daphne. What...

Career Profile: Jennifer Clark, Anthropologist at the Smithsonian
Career Exploration
Career Profile: Jennifer Clark, Anthropologist at the Smithsonian
Zack Dabrowski, Staff Reporter • April 22, 2024

It was a bright sunny day in East Africa and Jennifer Clark was about to make one of her coolest discoveries yet: the skeleton of a fossil elephant...

Koibots Get Loud at District Championships
Clubs & Extras
Koibots Get Loud at District Championships
Clara Golner, Staff Reporter • April 22, 2024

On Thursday, April 4, at 6 am, thirty-one ACC students and two adults boarded a bus to Petersburg, Virginia, for Chesapeake District Playoffs....

Career Profile: Cathy Pinskey, Director of Mason Facilities
Career Exploration
Career Profile: Cathy Pinskey, Director of Mason Facilities
Maggie Odar, Lead Designer, Reporter, Editor, Social Media Manager • April 22, 2024

Pursuing a career in architecture can often feel like putting all your eggs in one basket. However, Cathy Pinskey shows that architecture is...

Arlington Independent Media: Amplifying Student Voices

Arlington+Independent+Media%3A+Amplifying+Student+Voices
Photo by Samuel Avalos, Wakefield Senior

The author Cody Finnegan attends Arlington Tech with recent experience in the AIM volunteer and internship program.

These days, it can often feel like you have so many thoughts in your head, but no one ever listens. As a teenager, you may have realized you have a surprising opinion or perspective that you haven’t seen expressed in the media. Maybe you wanted to take action on that thought but dismissed yourself because you thought it wouldn’t have any effect on the world anyway. Luckily, there is a place where you can share your deepest thoughts about the world.

Arlington Independent Media (AIM) is a nonprofit that was founded in 1982 to provide media training and a platform for community members to share their stories and opinions, especially for underserved communities or underrepresented voices. Mostly, these opportunities were given to adults, but under the new leadership of AIM’s CEO Whytni Kernodle, AIM is increasingly recognizing the value of young voices. They call this the Youth Journalism Initiative (YJI), and it is the main way students can take advantage of AIM’s opportunities. The YJI includes a number of elements such as monthly meetings and a Journalism Intensive internship. So far, the result of these internships is a wide variety of video journalism pieces that were uploaded to YouTube, as well as a complete season of podcast episodes for our new podcast The Arlington Amp, which made such a splash that it even received recognition from WAMU.

Kristen Clark is my mentor and the leader of the Youth Journalism Initiative. When I asked her what made the Youth Journalism Initiative, she said it’s like an experiment: “What if we just take it for granted that students are major, primary stakeholders in life in Arlington, and that they have unique knowledge and a unique vantage point and a really interesting perspective that could deeply inform the way that we think about life in Arlington? And basically, all of YJI is just playing out that experiment.”

Students are given creative freedom to choose stories that pique their interest or have an impact on them in some way. I have always felt that the strongest aspect of the program, the thing that makes it so special, is that students are allowed to explore the stories they want to explore. Every single piece produced for the Arlington Amp came from a deep passion for the topic being covered. This strategy also results in stories that are relevant for other teenagers in Arlington.

Right now, the perspective of teenagers is more important than ever. Teenagers are at the center of many of the highest-profile debates in the nation: “Everything from opioids to birth control to trans rights to guns, literally just name them,” says Kristen. But teens’ voices aren’t taken seriously in these debates. Instead, when it comes to issues like trans policies in school or banning books, the debate often centers on the perspectives of parents or other adults. The Arlington Amp is designed as a platform for teens in Arlington to amplify their voices and valuable perspectives.

One of the goals of the program is to teach students about the ethics and responsibilities of being a journalist and how to maintain integrity in reporting– what I love is that you gain real-world experience. It doesn’t feel like school, where you sit down and listen to someone tell you about the principles of independent journalism. Instead, you learn how to be a journalist by actually becoming a journalist. Last summer, I completed an internship with AIM in which I produced an NPR-style podcast episode about a controversial project in North Arlington called Plan Langston Boulevard. I encountered several obstacles when reporting on this story. For one, many of the opinions that my interviewees held about this topic were starkly different from my own. I had to toe the line between acknowledging my inherent bias in covering the topic, covering the story fairly, and appeasing my sources. But Kristen guided me down this treacherous path, and in the end I can proudly say that I feel I accomplished all of these goals. This was a better educational experience than any classroom could ever be.

AIM offers activities at a variety of intensity levels, anywhere from attending low-stakes monthly meetings to an extremely rigorous and fulfilling internship program. Getting involved means you can work on things like a photography challenge with local professional photographer Yassine El Mansouri, or a project on Election Day, which aired on the radio.

If you’re interested in joining AIM, start by attending a meeting on the first Monday of each month from 5:00 – 7:00 (the January 1 meeting will be on January 8) at Arlington Central Library. Anybody is welcome, so don’t worry if you’ve never done anything with AIM before! Right now, AIM is also running a Beat Memo Challenge where you pre-interview people in the community. This is a great way to make connections within a certain field, in case you have a topic you’re interested in but not yet a specific story idea. If you think you might enjoy having access to a platform that lets you tell stories you find meaningful, try signing up for the challenge or attending one of AIM’s next events! If you are interested in joining the Amp Editorial Team (the people like me who are cleared to pitch and produce stories independently), make sure to apply for AIM’s internship when applications open! Stay tuned on this, since the exact dates of the next internship are yet to be determined.

I will continue to provide updates about Arlington Independent Media and the Arlington Amp for ACC and other Arlington students, right here on the ACC Chronicle.