HarlemLive, an award winning, critically acclaimed web magazine produced by teens from throughout New York City, begun in 1996. It was in full effect until about 2010 and during this time the alumni have grown into roles across the globe.
Now, in a new era, and beginning with children of the original alumni and others in the Harlem community, HarlemLIVE continues.
Started as a journalism, technology and leadership program teaching youth ages 9 to 21 how to run an online magazine and TV show. The publication, “HarlemLive” (www.harlemlive.org), includes news articles, investigative stories, opinion pieces, personal essays, poetry, photography and video documentaries. The students organize events, conduct workshops and sit on panels, increasing their networking and public speaking abilities.
Since its inception, teenagers are the forefront in running every aspect . They are assigned positions such as editor-in-chief, managing editor, photo editor, reporters, layout designers, Vediot editors, administrators and technicians. Adult mentors, including journalism professionals from The New York Times, Black Entertainment Television, ABC News, VIBE magazine, Time Magazine, and Bloomberg News guide them through the process. A partnership with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism allows HarlemLive students to work one-on-one with Masters Degree journalism candidates as well.
HarlemLive teens learn by doing: They research their own articles, interview sources, photograph news events, and interact daily with their community. Through an ongoing “dialogue” with Harlem, they encourage accountability in their schools, political districts and neighborhoods. In the process, they develop specific skills including desktop publishing, database management, digital camera technology, electronic messaging, web design and mass communications.
The students who participate in HarlemLive may not become journalists ultimately, yet because they are constantly unraveling complex issues of the day, they gain skills that are transferable into many arenas.
HarlemLive, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, was created in 1996 by a former New York City public school teacher, Richard Calton. He was responding to a need: With dwindling funding for high school newspapers, fewer teenagers in low-income neighborhoods were being exposed to journalism at an age when they might become interested and motivated to consider communications a career goal.
The first students to join HarlemLive came from a few junior high schools. Today, there are more than 60 students enrolled in the program, hailing from over 30 schools throughout the five boroughs of New York. For three of its six years, HarlemLive was based in an office on 111th Street and 5th Avenue in East Harlem, sharing space in a computer center called Playing To Win, and before that, in a basement office at Teachers College, Columbia University.