“I am very grateful to Youth Media Agency for introducing me to this underworld of journalism, which is truly more honest, thought-provoking, and future-thinking than any mainstream media.  It excites me that these young people will soon infiltrate our newspapers, radio and TV and I will have the chance to work with them again.  

A massive ‘thank you’ to YMA for also getting me a 2 week work placement with one of my favourite magazines, Dazed & Confused – which I start in December. Yeah!

What have I learnt from this experience? The values of passion, hard work, and a regular supply of salted popcorn.

My interning story by Natasha Slee, 21 Creative Associate

“Can you ask Sebastian?”

“Sebastian from…Upshot TV?” I reply. Interning at the Youth Media Agency this Summer I had to learn a lot of names very fast. Within a few days of setting foot in the office I began working on compiling a Directory of Youth Media from across the country. Emailing, phoning and tweeting organisations, editors and successful young filmmakers: a whole underground world of Youth Media I had barely heard of days before.

Rapid name recall was just one of the many things I learnt here, along with how to give a presentation to over 100 people without becoming a gibbering mess, and the complex, often mind-boggling, running’s of a social enterprise. All invaluable skills I will take with me on my Journalism career.

I discovered the Youth Media Agency way back in June, when I was writing a piece for a Uni project about youth and politics. Elisabeth Ribbans, Managing Editor of the Guardian, had mentioned the YMA’s PressChange4Youth campaign in an online article.

I pinged an email to Susana for an interview. I was intrigued by the campaign and  asked how I could become involved:

“Become an intern! We’re launching a Directory in four weeks!” Never one to turn down a new opportunity, and facing a Summer of predictably bad weather (Oh, and two months work at the London 2012 Games – read more here)

I knew I’d need something to entertain me. Challenge accepted, I set about familiarising myself with the list of 100 plus Youth Media Susana had given me.

Youth Media is an ever-changing platform: ventures expire and founders grow out of the ‘youth’ bracket. However, new newspapers and channels are started at the same rate, a feat to keep up with. Updating Susana’s original list, and urging organisations to return Directory membership forms, required some stern email perseverance – I was that annoying emailer – and some stealth tweeting. Slowly the forms trickled in, each organisation keen to be involved with YMA.

With some help from the web wizards at Full Signal, I began to build the Directory, inputting the data into the site. (That’s another important skill I learnt here: how to stay calm while working with WordPress.) By the day of the launch, 24th July, the Directory featured over 50 exciting youth magazines, newspapers, channels and radio stations. We unveiled at the Freeword Centre in Farringdon, in front of 110 people from the BBC, Facebook and TimeOut. You can read more about the launch here.

Launching the Directory was a very proud moment for me: I had helped to create something unique to the UK, and had learnt about and become part of a truly exciting youth community.

After the launch I began developing the Fanzine, which now connects lots of young creatives to youth media across the UK.

I also played a part in continuing the momentum of the #PressChange4Youth campaign, most recently helping with Age in the Code – a successful, noisy (a sign of success) and interesting debate on if and why age should be included as a classification for discrimination in the Editors Code. Find out more about the event here.

Other opportunities the YMA gave me include:

  • Securing a 2 week placement at Dazed & Confused which I start in December
  • Meeting Managing Editor at the Guardian, Elisabeth Ribbans
  • Meeting Ian Beales, Editor of the Editor’s Codebook

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and it is time for me to leave YMA and bury my head into many a dissertation book. (Anyone who says Uni students don’t work hard has clearly never met a third year student.)

Natasha x


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"Important and inspiring work, as ever"

Riz Ahmed
Actor & Musician

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