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VOX Media Cafe Session 3: Teens Capture The Future Of Atlanta

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VOX Media Cafe Session 3 was summer camp on steroids. Teens who have been on the VOX staff or in previous VMC sessions returned to Atlanta’s teen newsroom for a more advanced dive into journalism, multimedia and teamwork.

They ate ice cream at BBDO ad agency, chased Carl Azuz through the esteemed halls of CNN, drew airplanes at the High Museum, shot photos in the historic West End and Piedmont Park — and created comprehensive multimedia packages about topics they felt are critical to their lives and the future of Atlanta. The also interviewed Atlanta mayoral candidates Kwanza Hall and Cathy Woolard as well as rapper Killer Mike.

All three sessions of VOX Media Cafe stories can be accessed through the VMC category online here.  

We gathered the voices of VOX Media Cafe students about what the program meant to them:


Vox Media Cafe

Kaylynn Parks, 16, a rising senior at Atlanta International School, said:Almost every day, I left VOX and got out and left to explore the city and take pictures. I feel a lot more productive. What I’m creating in this session is a lot more involved in what I want than in the first session. [Our volunteer Charles Bethea] walked with us all the way to Georgia State Bookstore, which is a 20-minute walk and it was 90 degrees outside. That sort of commitment is really respectable.”

Billie Blanding VOX

Billae Blanding, 16, Tucker High School, said:With VMC, it feels like you’re learning more skills. In the other one I participated in, VOX Investigates, it feels more like you’re putting your skills to use and you come in with them. I went on a goose chase for Carl Azuz. If he’s listening, I’m still looking for him. I used MARTA solo-dolo for the first time this year. That was really cool. I feel independent.

What have you learned this summer that you didn’t learn from other sessions or school year VOX?

Vox Media Cafe

Kayla Madison Smith, VOX summer intern, 18, Spelman College

“Patience is a virtue.”

Amira Sledge, VOX Media Cafe, 13, Tucker Middle School

“Being productive with a partner.”

Vox Media Cafe

Holyn Thigpen, VOX Media Cafe, 17, Dekalb School of the Arts

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“I learned a lot more about arranging interviews and going out and being confident and getting people to talk to me.”

Maya Martin, VOX Summer Intern, 16, Agnes Scott College  

“I learned to be responsible for my productivity and look at my style of work and act on that.”

Vox Media Cafe

Gabby Whitaker, VOX Media Cafe, 14, Midtown International School

“I learned to never wear black leggings in downtown Atlanta when it’s almost 100 degrees. With the writing, I learned to work with the interns and ask the staff for help.”

Kenneth Franklin, VOX Summer Intern, 17, Druid Hills High School

“One, I got better at video editing, specifically in Adobe Premiere. Two, also learned patience as well.”

Kellye Britton, Volunteer

“I’m real fresh, so I’ve learned everything in a day. I spent all night both on and, so I feel like I have learned the importance of giving young people a platform, unrestricted, with reinforcement and guidance, what that means, and the kind of fulfillment you get. And that’s just from one day. VOX is awesome.”


Vox Media Cafe

Terell Wright, VOX Media Cafe, 14, Walnut Grove High School

“I’ve learned to always stick to the deadline or else you’ll fall behind. Always know the day, hour, and minute.”

Rich Eldredge, VOX Adult Staff

“I learned a lot about the folks who are running for mayor. They all have very different campaigns. I was fascinated by everything.”

Kaleb Anderson, VOX Alumni Intern, 19, DePauw University

“This session taught me to not overextend myself. There were a lot of times when I was like, “ok, let me do some of this, but not do a lot of it.” My role is not to be doing all of it.”

Vox Media Cafe

Alimah Dawkins, VOX Alumni Intern, 19, Sarah Lawrence College

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“I learned a few things about time management and being sick and knowing when to stop coming to the office and knowing when to lie down.”

Maurice Garland, VOX Publishing Manager

“I learned how to be elastic and I learned how to fix tripods.”

Chasity Starks, VOX Media Cafe, 16, Arabia Mountain High School

“I learned that patience is a virtue. I also learned [how to react] when things don’t go your way— like with editing. I had a lot of problems when the audio wouldn’t play and stuff like that and I was getting ready to spaz, but I did not.”

Rachel Alterman Wallack, VOX Founder and Mission Director

“I learned that Maurice is a kick-ass editor and advocate for this space.”

Dianna Hill, Volunteer, CNN with Brooke Baldwin

“I learned also about the mayoral candidates [things] that I didn’t know before. Yesterday, I got a great crash-course from [VMC volunteer] Natalie about Adobe Premiere, which I haven’t used before, though I have some editing experience from the past.”

Mack Walker, VOX Summer Intern, 14, North Atlanta High School

“I learned to start young because when you get older, opportunities aren’t going to be as good as they are now when you’re young.”

Vox Media Cafe

Here are the multimedia packages from each session:

Session 3: 
The Requirements And Limitations Of Sex Ed In Georgia

The Future Of The ATL Rap Scene

From Hair To Clothing, Atlanta’s Black Teen-Run Businesses Make An Impact

VOX Interviews Atlanta Mayoral Candidates Cathy Woolard And Kwanza Hall 

A Look At Teen Involvement Inside The Atlanta Film Industry

Session 2: 

VMC: Teen Drivers And Atlanta Police Speak Out On Traffic Stops And Safety

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VMC Reports: Thrifting and Balling on a Budget 

VMC: The Rise Of Anime

Session 1:

A Look Inside LGBTQ Homelessness In Atlanta 

How ‘Wonder Woman’ Changes The Game For Female Superheroes and Directors

Meet Atlanta Underground Musicians 404 Villain, A.B.B., MC Miles And Joe Alterman

Last, but not least anyone interested in joining the VOX teen staff for the coming school year can apply / register at Sign up before Aug. 12 so you can attend our New Member Training that day.

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