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FAQs

This is where you can find the answers to frequently asked questions regarding Y-Press.

What does the “Y” in Y-Press stand for?
Youth. It’s also a play on words. We hope that kids in Y-Press ask lots of “Why?” questions.
What is Y-Press's mission?

Y-Press is a diverse, youth-driven organization that develops leadership, civic engagement and critical thinking through journalism in a variety of media, providing a forum for local and global youths' perspectives.

Where is Y-Press?
We’re located on the third floor of The Indianapolis Star building. The address is 307 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204-0145.
I thought Y-Press was in The Children’s Museum. And didn’t it used to be called “Children’s Express?”
Y-Press used to be part of Children’s Express, an international children’s press organization, but decided to become independent of that organization in 1999. At that time it changed its name. Nationally, Children’s Express ceased operation in 2001. Y-Press was a program of The Children’s Museum, but the museum’s youth education programs were eliminated in 2003. Y-Press was organized as a separate nonprofit organization with its own board of directors in 2004.
Why do kids join Y-Press?
For a lot of reasons. Many want to improve their writing and research skills. Some want to learn to be leaders. Others join because a friend or sibling convinced them to do so. Some kids know it’s important to be involved in service and extracurricular activities to get into a good college.
How much does it cost to join Y-Press?
It doesn’t cost any money, but we ask that you give your time. This means being responsible about meeting deadlines and doing what you promise to do. Y-Press relies on the generosity of its many friends in the community for financial support who care about challenging and stretching young people’s thinking and believe that adding youth voices to the community dialogue is essential to have a well-informed public.
What do Y-Press members do?
Young journalists research issues, write questions, conduct interviews and help keep the office and its operations in order. They also write and edit stories. Some Y-Press members do speeches before other groups about the organization or work to raise money for special projects.
Why do kids LIKE to go to Y-Press?
It’s fun hanging out with kids from different schools. Sure, we work on stories and do interviews, but we laugh and have fun doing it. We meet lots of interesting kids and adult and learn a lot without getting graded on it. We eat good snacks, too.
Who can be a Y-Press member?
Any one who is between the ages of 10 to 18 can be trained as a Y-Press reporter or editor. If you are curious, you have the essential characteristics of a Y-Press member. At Y-Press young people are key decision-makers. From reporting a story, to leading a story idea meeting, to attending Y-Press board meetings, youth are at the table.
How many kids are in Y-Press?
About 120 youth of all skill levels, backgrounds and interests work side by side, interviewing about 300 kids every year and telling their stories.
Where do Y-Press stories appear?
Y-Press stories appear in The Indianapolis Star every other week in the “Voices” section. Y-Press journalists also broadcast stories and commentaries on public radio’s WFYI-FM (90.1).
Who do you see as the Y-Press audience?
Y-Press covers a youth beat, shedding perspective on a variety of issues affecting youth. Its stories are by young journalists for everyone.
How do you come up with story ideas? Are there restrictions?
Y-Press reporters and editors come up the ideas and vote on which ones they want to do. Any story idea that has a youth angle is considered. Once a member has a story idea, he or she researches the idea and comes up with a specific angle. He or she then presents that idea at a “storyboard meeting.” At these meetings, members listen as new ideas are introduced and ask questions about them. At the end of the meeting, Y-Press members vote on the ones that they want to report and write. They either vote to work on the story, send it back for more research or vote against pursuing a story idea if it doesn't fit Y-Press's criteria.
When are storyboard meetings?
Storyboard is typically on the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. It lasts about an hour. In 2008, July's and September's storyboards are the second Thursday (July 10 and September 11).
What are some stories that Y-Press has produced?
Y-Press has reported about Adderall abuse, Amish teens, the benefits of video games, youth’s own poverty experiences, and the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding. Kids come up with the ideas and plan how to do them. Y-Press has covered international youth issues throughout the years, including stories from Kuwait, Northern Ireland, Cuba, Hong Kong and Benin in West Africa.
Does Y-Press produce a stand-alone publication?
In the past, Y-Press, as a Children’s Express bureau, was involved in producing three publications for national audiences. In addition, Indianapolis youth have written a health-discussion tool and produced a calendar sharing a diversity of youth opinions on daily life. We’re open to doing future publications that help increase youth understanding, too.
How does Y-Press differ from a high school newspaper?
Y-Press places young voices in the mainstream press. Therefore, stories are held to the same standard and scrutiny as adult reporters face in media jobs. The second goal is to develop Y-Press members’ skills by giving them responsibility that they may not encounter in the classroom. Many Y-Press alumni credit their experience for developing a wide range of skills, including how to be active listeners, conquering fears, finding their writing voices, learning to be resourceful and becoming independent. The process of producing stories is key to their development. Young people don’t just socialize at Y-Press; they work hard in a supportive, mentoring, learning environment.
How are Y-Press members involved in decision-making?
Besides working on stories, members help run the nonprofit organization by: • helping to brainstorm new projects and programs; • recruiting and training new members; • serving as managing editors and youth directors; • suggesting how to improve and develop the news bureau; • promoting and marketing the program with community members; • sending evaluations and copies of stories to interviewees; • redesigning Y-Press’s Web site • interviewing and recommending adult candidates for staff positions.
Are ANY adults involved in Y-Press?
Yes, but they are committed to teaching and guiding, not leading, youth journalists. Lynn Sygiel is the director and has been with Y-Press or Children’s Express for more than 21 years. She formerly was a teacher for gifted students and also led a Newspaper in Education program in the Northeast. An assistant director, part-time writing coach and part-time radio coach are also adult staff members.
Are all Y-Press members top students?
Everyone is welcome at Y-Press, regardless of ability or background. The only requirement of new recruits is curiosity and an enthusiasm for getting involved. Because Y-Press interviews are tape recorded, literacy, confidence, language nor age, are not barriers to participation. Peers and staff help individuals who need support.
What is the time commitment?
Members take part as much or as little as they like, but should try to commit to an average of eight hours a month. Students who volunteer eight hours or more a month are more likely to be chosen for stories that require travel and in-depth projects.
How do I apply to be a Y-Press member?
Each prospective member must e-mail or send an application letter by post to Y-Press. It should include name, age, address, phone and e-mail information. The letter should also include what you believe you can contribute to Y-Press and mention a recent news story that has captured your attention. You may apply at any time of the year, but trainings occur twice a year (September, February).
Once I apply, how do I become a member?
To become a member you must attend an all-day training session on a Saturday. Trainings are only offered twice a year – once in the fall and once in the spring. Youth ages 13 and under are reporters and get training in how to be a reporter and how Y-Press works. Youth ages 14 and up receive training on how to be an editor. At Y-Press reporters are mostly involved in developing questions and conducting the interviews; editors plan, interview and write stories.