Here at HarlemLIVE

by Kevin Benoit

Sept 2005 – Here at HarlemLIVE “we gets busy,” figuratively speaking that is. Sure HarlemLIVE is the site you click on to get all the latest news in the community, around the city and around the globe, but inside the office there are tons of stories everyday. 

By now if you are checking out the site you know that HarlemLIVE is a youth run online publication. We are an award winning journalism program that 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.
HarlemLIVE is a year round program where young adults ages 13-21 volunteer their free time to do something that is positive and fun. Over the course of the summer students come out in packs because of their newly found free time. Schools out leaving students with a void for that mental stimulation that they love and can’t get enough of. HarlemLIVE provides that stimulation for the everyday teen and it also provides them, with something positive to do with their time.

This summer most of the staff has come via Summer Youth Employment. Almost 30 students entered this program at the beginning of July all getting paid to do something fun and exciting. We also accepted another 8-10 students who came in as volunteers making the opening to our summer a very promising one. 

Every summer we have our Youth Media Challenge where we split the staff into teams where they compete against each other for prizes and chances to fill up open slots of our executive staff. The students learn everything that we do throughout the year getting a crash course in how to run an online magazine. Usually we have three teams and that is successful but this year after some of the staff members realized that HarlemLIVE was not the organization for them or after we realized that they were not the staff for HarlemLIVE the three teams were broken down to just two. So all summer Keeping It Real Entertainment (KIRE) and Supernova battled head to head. Both teams were lead by long time staff members, KIRE led by Jessica Batson who joined the staff in May and Supernova led by Tracey Casseus who joined the staff in October of 2004. As leaders they learned that taking responsibility for the bad as well as the good is not always fun. They learned how to really run an online publication. We taught them well if I can say so myself.

The teams were put through the regular competition with a few twists and turns along the way and a few improvements to match the new technology in the world. They did the flyer contest-a competition to see who could pas out the most flyers in the least amount of time-they tried to write as much stories as possible, put together the best video, and even developed the best blogs and pod casts, 
All the participants can tell you that the competition started out shaky but it ended with a bang. The competition culminated with our annual award ceremony at Bloomberg’s Headquarters. At the ceremony we announce the winning team, we give out awards to individual achievers and we announce the editors for the fall year. This year’s all around best individual achiever was Iyanna Garry. She won awards for best poem, best blogger, best essay and best health story. Steven Martinez was the winner for best story while Troy Robateau was the winner for best video. 

The winning team for the competition was Supernova coming off a lackadaisical performance for the first two weeks. Somehow they managed to get their selves back in the competition and in the end they gave their selves a chance to win it all. 

The new leaders for the fall and the immediate future were all people who made outstanding contributions throughout the summer. Our new Entertainment Editor, Keisean Marshall, wanted to meet Beyoncé when he joined HarlemLIVE-and he still wants to-but with HarlemLIVE he is so much closer to reaching his goal. 
Our new Video Director, Ranale Todman completed two videos over the summer and he showed that he gained the most out of the program and was willing to give the most back into it. Over the summer we somehow got twins on board a pair of outgoing young females from the Bronx. It turned out that they love marketing and after testing them out with on e of our open mics they proved that they are young marketing gurus in the making. Dejinay and Denaira Reid are out new Marketing Directors. Our new Health Editor, Tracey Casseus had been working on developing a template for the health page even before the summer began, but it was her strategy, dependability and ability to follow through that landed her the position. Iyana Garry became our lead writer because when you are that talented you deserve acknowledgement. Since then we have made her editor of the Community section as well as the Life in the City section. It’s only right being that she lives in Brooklyn, works in Manhattan, goes to school in the Bronx and spent all summer doing slideshows on Queens. Our newest Editor In Chief is Jessica Batson the leader for Keeping It Real Entertainment. When she joined in May Richard Calton said that she had potential to be the next leader and his prediction proved to be true. She is also the editor of Current Events and Politics. Mera Beckford is still out Managing Editor because no one can do that job as wonderfully as she can. As for me I have been promoted to Publisher of HarlemLIVE. That just means I am still the dedicated head male here. Look for some changes in these positions soon.
I asked some of the staff members about their feelings toward HarlemLIVE and the summer experience and here’s what they had to say. 

Tyrell Carlton, the longest serving member of HarlemLIVE that was placed on a team was the co-leader for team Supernova. He was also on last years winning team, Vertigo. He feels that he is a good luck charm and he is thinking about doing it again next year that way he can have a three-peat and maybe he’ll even be team leader. He says that the most interesting part of HarlemLIVE is “meeting new people and going on interesting stories.”

Jessica Henderson has learned that HarlemLIVE can be bigger than all your expectations. She was the co-leader for Keeping It Real Entertainment and she was a big part to keeping her team focused. “HarlemLIVE is more than I expected. I thought I was going to be a simple journalist. This is more important than I thought. Her greatest experience so far: Meeting Al Sharpton. She asked him if his hair was real.

Jasmine Hamm the youngest staff member this summer is entering freshman year of High School this September. Her growth over the summer was a joy to watch. “I love the experience,” she says. “It provides a lot that will benefit me in my future. I do stories, photography and I’m jumping into video as well.”HarlemLIVE recently did a presentation at the Apple Store. Members of the new look executive staff as well as alumni and members of the Board of Directors all took part in the presentation. The purpose was to inform other people and groups how we use technology and how it has benefited the organization. The presentation was a great experience for all of those involved especially those who hadn’t done much public speaking in the past.

In other news Tracey Casseus, our new health editor is working on our health page. It will soon be added to the HarlemLIVE website. The colors are different and it will standout but it looks very good. The page is being developed by HarlemLIVE alumni Justin Young.

Another breakthrough in the HarlemLIVE office is the monthly open mic series. Back in May we did our first Poetry Slam Series. It lasted a period of four weeks throughout May and June. The response was so huge and the events wee so successful that we had to go on and do another one. The turnout continued to increase so we just had to do it on a recurring basis. So the first Saturday of every month it goes down. Poets, singers, and performers from all over the city come out to perform at our office space.

A Day in the Life of Being a Leader

by Eddie Aung

I have been in HarlemLive for nearly two years. But before this summer, I had no idea what the real responsibility meant. Being a group leader can be the hardest job on earth; especially when the success of your whole group depends on your performance. Let me give you a little a short tour of a group leader’s one day life in HarlemLive. Yeah…… It’s just a short tour….

I bet that everyone has thought of what they are doing or where they are going to. Well, that is one of the daily jobs of mine and I want to say that it also should be one of the practices that a group leader should possess. A group leader should most of the time be thinking about something that pertains to the success of his group. 

Ideas are not hard to come up with, the hard part is to turn those ideas into stories and ask your group to actually go out and make those ideas come true. The whole group will have a meeting and everyone will be throwing ideas at each other and it will seem like the meeting was a success. Everyone including the leader learned something new after the meeting and believe that the group members will try hard to turn the ideas into actual stories. Well, you see…., only fairy tales end with a happy ending. 

Most of the problems start from the fact that not all of the people are motivated. So even an experienced group leader “MUST” have Plan B because there is a possibility that something might go wrong such as one of the group members not making an important phone call, missing a scheduled story, or just sitting on a chair and staring at a computer screen Instant Messaging their friends. 

My strategy to overcome those difficulties is to actually do some of the scheduling on my own and be ready with a story on days when there are no stories. I always keep track of what my group members are doing. Stories are important in an organization such as HarlemLive, but not all the members in my groups are writers or reporters. What I do is keep them busy with the work they are interested in. If someone likes to edit video. If someone likes mopping, well, that’s what they will to do. 

Since there are a lot of things going on and there are not enough people to cover all the necessities, I have to assign each person to take care of two different types of jobs such as a writer might take a journalism class or photography workshops. This put a certain amount of pressure on some group members especially when they are new. About 90% of the staff in HarlemLive for this year’s Summer Program are new. There is the trouble there. Some people think that taking care of two things is hard and some think that having two stories on one day is a lot. Well, what can you say? You are the group leader; you have to listen to your group because those are the people that make you the group leader. 

There are times when I feel like a lot of the things that I planned are not going as well as they should be. Managing a group is like a rubber band. If you pull it too hard, it will snap. If you don’t pull hard enough, you will it will not stretch as far as you would like it. You really have to understand people. A good group is the group where all the team members work together and know what they are doing. This will not guarantee that the group will have the most rewards because any group can reach its goals just by depending on a couple of good and hardworking people in the group. 

That is not what I expect from my group. So I try to teach my group to work together. And trust me, that is really hard because you are trying to combine a bunch of minds asking them to reach a certain destination. Everyone wants to choose his own path. 

Most of my hardest moments as being a leader is when my group members do not do things right. It is hard to keep track of what everybody is doing every time. When I don’t know what someone is doing, it is hard for me to plan ahead. Trying to find out what is going on in the group and planning ahead is really challenging for me, especially when things do go as I had expected. Finding right people for the right work is a hard thing for me. However, I’m happy with my position because you have a chance to learn and interact with people. They report to you what is happening and they share their ideas with you which I believe is a great thing. Even though sometimes I feel like there is a big rock on my shoulder, that feeling disappears when I see my group members working.

A Great Respect for Religion

by Nicole Farrow

I’ve never been a religious person, nor have I ever had the desire to be religious. I believe that religion is like a paradox. I simply cannot bring myself to believe that Jesus treads water or that Job managed to endure all those cruel and horrendous trials and still keep his faith. Religion allows one to test the grounds of the spiritual and physical realms. However, if this theory is valid, why do so many people believe in it and base their lives around it? 

I’ve never had an interest in becoming religious, at least not until I visited Vatican City in Rome, Italy. It was overwhelming to experience the love and faith of all the followers in the church, and in a way I felt as though I belonged. The artwork and the beauty of the church made me feel guilty for not believing as devoutly as the pious followers believe. I felt serenity as I walked passed the ancient and historic artwork. I was able to just sit back and absorb the experience and reflect on where I am now and where I am going to be. As I looked around, I saw that people have found peace through religion, and I wondered whether I would be able to find that type of peace if I were religious. 

However, religion is only effective if the person is a true believer, and I am not. I don’t find many aspects of religion unbelievable, and I don’t agree with many of the implications of the Bible. There are too many references that degrade women and blacks, and this prevents me from deeply involving myself in it. People have a tendency to neglect that aspect of religion. Certain followers pick and choose which aspects they want to believe, and that is something that I am not able to do. I cannot neglect one part of something and then embrace the other. I am in no way shunning or demeaning religion anyway, and I have full respect for all people who practice Catholicism. I am just stating the reasons why I personally cannot practice Catholicism. 

However, I must admit that Vatican City did allow me to understand why people believe and why people are so adamant about their religion. Vatican City really opened my eyes and allowed me to explore an aspect of life that I had never explored before. I confronted many of questions, and problems and I realized the power and the influence of religion. I¹m not saying that from now on I¹m going to go to church every Sunday, or even go to church at all, but I¹m definitely going to have a greater respect for Catholicism and for those who practice it.


Fall 2006 
10th Annual Award Ceremony at ABC-TVMedia Mentors Series with The Elie Wiesel FoundationHL Seniors Begin College ApplicationsNew HarlemLIVE Staff Assume Leadership Roles New Office Space in th Offing 
Spring 2006HL Wins Union Square AwardsRoll the PressesDecade of success- A TimelineHarlemLIVE Seeks New HomeWIsh us a Happy 10th!A Thanks to our supporters this quarterView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
Winter 2006 Governor presents Dr. Martin Luther King “Living The Dream Award” to HarlemLIVENew Half Hour TV Magazine Launches Two HL Alums Hired to Run Centers in the Bronx Our Wish ListA Thank You to Our ContributorsView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
Fall 2005Individual Donor provides Dollars to Hire HL FundraiserHL to begin work with Columbia’s ‘J’ School Students HL’s Annual Fall Recruitment Drive Variety of content added HL extends our condolences to those affected by Katrina HarlemLIVE Scotland Bound New Editors Announced at Annual Award Ceremony View the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
July-Aug 2005Revenue Increases but Capacity Dollars Elusive Editors & Alumni get Summer Challenge off to Flying StartHL’s Poetry Slam Series Jumps Off HarlemLIVE to Presents at the Apple Store in SoHoView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
May-June 2005Alumni win 1st Prize in Bank of America ContestMay Challenge – $10 Matching grant for HLTeens learn studio techniques at MNNAward Ceremony Aug 18th at BloombergHL Students fly to St. Louis for Media Reform ConferenceBoard Members AddedPhoto of students at Vermont PresentationBirthday bash raises cashAlumna to study in Paris next year and write for Moscow Times View the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
March-April 2005New Board Chair and thank you to Robin Bell-StevensHL’s First Annual Free Style Fashion ShowHIP Hip Hooray – HIP Grants HL FundsHL Goes to Vermont to Train Exchange StudentsView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
December 2004/January-February 20052004 HighlightsFree Style Fashion Show (preview)College Mentor ProgramAlumni Update View the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
October/November 2004New Editors AnnouncedFrank Silvera Writers’ Workshop Moves to HarlemLIVECollege Mentor ProgramAlumni Update View the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
Aug/Sep 2004Award Ceremony to be held in Times SquareHL Students Attend Columbia Engineering School HarlemLive Alumni Staff Playing 2 Win HL Covers the DNCView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
June/July 2004Summer Youth Media Challenges BeginsInaugural Membership Drive BeginsAlumni Interns at The ViewJournalist Trains Dozens of New RecruitsTime Warner AwardHL Journalists Meet Bill Clinton at Hue-ManView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
April/May 2004HarlemLive Video team begins training for half hour news magazine showHL Founder makes cut in Leadership for Change competitionHL staffers travel to Middlebury Vermont to teach foreign exchange studentsAlumnae teaches Junior Scholars at HL’s headquartersFormer Editor studies at OxfordView the PDF file (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)
Feb/March 2004 HarlemLive selected by Foundation Center’s First Steps, Next Steps program Alumni begin HL Designs, creating web sites as HL’s first revenue streamThank you to the adult volunteersHL works with Columbia Business School students View the PDF (right click (windows) or control-click (mac) to save pdf to disk)