Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives

Here at Youth and Media, we’ve been thinking about the present and future of news for a while (and we’re not alone in that). Today, we’re excited to share a series of short essays written by friends and colleagues that offer insightful, provoking, and out-of-the-box reflections and observations at the intersection of news, digital media, and youth.

We hope you’ll enjoy and be inspired by these essays, which reflect the diversity of ideas and perspectives of the Berkman community, with contributions from: Sarah Genner, Erhardt Graeff, Paulina Haduong, Rey Junco, Luis Felipe R. Murillo, Dalia Othman, Geanne Perlman Rosenberg, Emily Robinson, Mayte Schomburg, Brittany Seymour, Hasit Shah, and Sara M. Watson. While some of the essays are closely connected to previous and ongoing Youth and Media research, others reflect personal experiences and observations, or highlight insights gained from other projects.

The essay collection, “Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives,” is available for download through SSRN here:

We hope that this collection, which is a contribution to the Robert M. McCormick Foundation Why News Matters program, will provoke further stimulate the conversation about the news-related challenges and opportunities youth encounter in the digital environment — and we want you to be a part of it!

We welcome your reactions and reflections, and hope you will stay connected with us via and @YouthAndMedia. Thank you for your support!

Join the Team!

The Berkman Center’s Youth and Media team seeks a diversely-skilled pool of applicants to be full and part time research assistants for its various projects, including but not limited to Youth and MediaDigitally Connected, the Student Privacy Initiative, and Digital Problem-Solving Initiative.

The part and full time positions would be ideal for currently enrolled students and recent graduates (undergraduate or above), respectively.

Interested in working with Youth and Media (YaM), a forward-looking and fun student-driven research team? Hoping to gain cutting-edge research experience at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society? Looking for a fast-paced and exciting environment where you can put your researching, copy editing, event planning, networking, or writing skills to good use? Want to collaborate closely with top Harvard researchers and innovative partners in academia, government, and industry?

The Berkman Center seeks both full and part time research assistants for Youth and Media. Positions are available for individuals with skills and interest in writing and editing or events planning and organizing as well as those looking for a more typical research-based role. YaM brings together young people, leading researchers and developers from the Berkman Center, and mentors from the Center’s broader network to engage creatively with the core challenges and opportunities that youth face online, focusing on online privacy, information quality and learning, civic participation, news and journalism, online hate speech, and content creation.  More information about YaM, which has grown out of the research of John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and collaborators across the world who have studied youth and digital technologies, can be found on our website (


1) Writing and Editing

Can you write passionately about a wide variety of issues? Do you take pride in crafting the perfect email, invite, or memo? Are you good with details and grammar and have a knack for editing the work of others? This is the position for you! Writing and Editing Assistants will work closely with Youth and Media leads and other team members to make sure that all work produced by the team is of the best possible quality.

2) Event Planning and Outreach

Do you love organizing workshops, symposiums, luncheons, and more? Do you excel at writing posts for social media, emails and invitations, and blog posts? Are you just as great with schedules as you are with people? Events Assistants will plan, organize, and execute a variety of events, academic and otherwise, and will have excellent opportunities to meet key players in industry, policy, and academia.

3) Research

Do you want to pursue a career in academia or simply gain more research skills? As you interested in or currently enrolled in a graduate program? The research assistant’s primary responsibility will be to support Youth and Media’s research track. Key tasks include conducting primary research (especially through focus group interviews), conducting literature reviews, and contributing to academic papers. The RA will also help Youth and Media’s scholarship reach broader academic and popular audiences by blogging and writing journalistic pieces.

Skills / Interests Helpful for These Positions (as applicable):

  • Knowledge of issues surrounding youth engagement with digital media
  • Advanced writing and editing skills, with the ability to quickly draft and contextualize written materials within the suite of the project outputs
  • Excellent critical reading comprehension, with the ability to absorb material quickly
  • Experience with copy editing as well as editing for flow and style
  • Enthusiasm for bringing people together efficiently and with a friendly and professional demeanor on and offline
  • Advanced research skills, such as transcript analysis, qualitative data coding, and study design
  • Persuasive academic writing with strong attention to detail
  • Expertise in fields such as education, media studies, library and information science, anthropology (ethnography), sociology, journalism, communications, law, or psychology
  • Media production, curriculum development, previous teaching experience, quantitative research (conducting surveys), qualitative research (conducting interviews or observational studies).

All Research Assistants Will Have the Opportunity to:

  • Boost their research credentials
  • Creatively bridge research and practice
  • Become key members of the Youth and Media team
  • Participate in the greater-Berkman Center community and ongoing dynamic conversations at the forefront of technology and society

Time Commitment & Payment:

Full Time - The time commitment for this position will cycle between two different periods: it will start with 90 days of full-time (35 hours/week) work, transition to 60 days of part-time (17.25 hours/week) work, and then continue this transition back and forth for the term of the position.

Part Time - The time commitment for this position will be approximately 17 hours/week.


Compensation is the standard Harvard RA rate of $11.50/hour. No other benefits are provided.

This position is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and remote participation is not possible for this opportunity.

The start date is September 1st, 2014, or as soon as possible.

To apply:

Please send your current CV or resume and a cover letter summarizing your interest and experience to the Youth and Media team ( with “Application for Youth and Media RA” in the subject line. Please include in your email which position(s) you are interested in and whether you prefer full or part time.