Creating a Sports and Fitness Beat at Youth Radio's Health Desk

From 2008 to 2009, staff at Youth Radio, an Oakland, Calif., youth development and media organization, developed a sports and fitness teaching curriculum for low-income men (primarily those of color) and used it to:

  • Help them address health-related issues including relationships, body image and sexuality
  • Promote media literacy and communications skills
  • Train them to produce media content on sports and fitness issues

"The goal was for students to think about health and social issues such as hypermasculinity, street violence and gender violence in ways they may not have previously," said Youth Radio Education Manager Patrick Johnson.

Key Results

  • Youth Radio trained 56 young men, Bay Area residents ages 14 to 21, in media literacy, communications skills and media production, using the sports and fitness curriculum designed by project staff.
  • Project participants produced more than 25 articles, commentaries and roundtable discussions for Youth Radio's Health Desk on subjects including hypermasculinity, homophobia, domestic violence, substance abuse and healthy lifestyles. These included:
    • A 30-minute episode on athletes and guns.
    • A commentary on Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback who returned to pro football after serving a jail term for dog fighting and mistreating the dogs involved in it.
    • A commentary by a male Camp Sweeney resident about his plans to study to become a nurse upon his release "even though it kind of sounds funny."