Review by Vanessa Aranda, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2019

YR Media

Dynamic site harnesses creative young talent to speak truth to power

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Arts
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
8–12
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Teachers say (3 Reviews)
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Pros: Great, modern content that tackles relevant topics in an authentic voice.

Cons: Some topics tend more toward people in their twenties than teens, and the radio stream can contain explicit language.

Bottom Line: This fresh and socially aware website will draw students in with catchy -- often controversial -- topics, but keep them there with quality content.

YR Media has strong politically- and socially-progress content that will speak to students' interests and inspire them. Yearbook and journalism advisors might model part of their program on YR Media. For this purpose, check out the DIY guides. These tutorials offer colorful visuals, detailed explanations, and student samples on topics from ethics to writing opinion pieces to social media reporting and more. There's to be at least one idea in these guides that can be incorporated into your curriculum. Media classes from film to journalism to graphic arts can use YR Media's work as a springboard for discussion and then creation. ELA classes can analyze the arguments put forth in articles (especially in the Opinion section), videos, or podcasts. Students could use this analysis to create their responses in a similar or different format. The videos on compelling topics like hate speech, social media influencers, and parental pressure will definitely spark discussion and can be structured in a Socratic seminar or four-corners format. Double-entry journals might be more fitting for student responses on more sensitive subjects, such as deportation, mass shootings, LGBT or straight pride, and housing. Health and psychology classes will also find surprisingly suitable content in teen-friendly language on important issues like reproductive health, mental illness, and anxiety. 

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YR Media is a traditional news site’s cooler, younger cousin. While there are a lot of youth-focused news sites, they tend to aim younger. YR Media, however, is a site that speaks to teens. YR Media publishes news and opinion articles, podcasts, videos, and radio shows. They're all written by a diverse group of young people (teens and twenties), and feature a funky but fitting voice and tone. The site provides info and insight on controversial and sometimes edgy (or even explicit) issues that might not be top-of-mind for traditional news sources. 

The site's menu lists News, Arts & Culture, Identity, Tech, Health, and Opinion, but the range of titles gives a better glimpse on the suitability of content for each class. From mild, middle school fare like “What If You Ruled the School Dress Code” to something you'll probably want to preface like “Black People: You Don’t Have to Watch Sad Things” to things that might have you answering parents calls like “Why are Millennials Having Less Sex.” Basically, it's key that teachers select and contextualize content as necessary. If students like what they read, watch, or hear on the site, they might also be inspired to contribute. Thankfully, YR Media thrives on collaboration and invites young journalists to join the team, even giving tips and tools on how to do so.

Students can build skills by thinking critically about the content they consume on YR Media. With teacher support, students can use YR Media's articles, videos, and podcasts to practice digital literacy. The youth-created content -- attuned to different cultures and perspectives -- has a hard-to-find authenticity that'll speak to students. And by watching, reading, and listening to YR Media's resources, students get more than just insight into what’s going on the world. The site provides a model for creative, politically-engaged media production that'll hopefully encourage students to contribute their own voices. And that's where the DIY guides come in; they can help connect the product to the process. Good reporting on sensitive issues doesn’t just happen, and these guides help make that point with handy infographics and samples. The visually friendly tutorials give students a crash course on important industry issues like tone, technique, accuracy, and ethics.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

This is youth-centered content that doesn't feel corny. The slick layout feels modern. Controversial issues can draw students in, but teachers should do some vetting.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Real talk on real issues will inform and inspire students to make their voices heard. The DIY guides provide templates for inspired journalists to create and contribute content.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Since teens write the articles, they're pretty accessible. Videos offer English subtitles, but podcasts don't have transcripts. Teens can interact with YR Media on various social media platforms.


Common Sense Reviewer
Vanessa Aranda Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lisa L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Sweet Home CSD
Amherst, United States
Wonderful resources of youth voices in current issues
To use Youth Radio was easy for my students, but I found the continual scrolling to be an issue. It just seemed as if the site was "busy" and there wasn't one thing to focus on. Unfortunately, that was distracting for some of my colleagues who would rather create links on a padlet and then have the children reach their goals through accessing one page.
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