Nuorten Ääni -toimitus (Young Voice Editorial Board) is media and democracy education activity provided by Helsinki City Youth Department. In Nuorten Ääni -toimitus youngsters aged between 13 and 20 produce stories for the Finnish mainstream media.
Nuorten Ääni -toimitus was established in 2006 by the youth. The youth brought up they feel like bystanders in the mainstream media. They are not taken seriously and the youth are only represented in the mainstream media in stereotypical and diminishing ways.
The youth has defined four main objectives for Nuorten Ääni -toimitus:
1) Changing the media coverage of the youth to more positive, more individual and more active
2) Make young people’s voice heard in the society and give issues relevant to the youth more positive visibility in the Finnish mainstream media
3) Make it possible for the youth to participate in the society via media and activate youngsters to participate into societal debates with other youngsters and decision makers
4) Train youngsters to write and produce news and other articles and TV programs.
Nuorten Ääni -toimitus is open to all youngsters in between the ages of 13 and 20. It is a hobby, so there are no skills needed: everyone learns the needed skills during the process. Youngsters can decide how much and which activities they want to participate. Youngsters themselves make all decisions concerning Nuorten Ääni -toimitus. In Nuorten Ääni -toimitus there are two youth workers with background in journalism guiding and helping the youngsters.
Nuorten Ääni -toimitus cooperates with Helsingin Sanomat (the biggest daily newspaper in Finland) and Suomen Kuvalehti (a weekly magazine). Besides those main partners, Nuorten Ääni -toimitus has cooperated with several smaller media and non-governmental organizations. The decisions about partnerships are always made by the youth.
Nuorten Ääni -toimitus has its emphasis on societal issues. It is not only about making media, it is about societal activation and participation. Besides making stories, Nuorten Ääni -toimitus gives the youth an opportunity to meet interesting and powerful people who have influence in society. Politicians, journalists, artists and activists have visited in Nuorten Ääni -toimitus and shared their thoughts about media and society.
According to the youth participated in Nuorten Ääni -toimitus, Nuorten Ääni -toimitus has given them courage and ways to express themselves. They have learned how to use media as a tool in societal participation and how to face politicians and other decision makers. They have also learned important social skills and media skills, such as writing, video, photography and social media.