The goal of the Teen Press project is to screen our award winning documentary and equip teachers with our easy to use educational curriculum (the Teen Press Cookbook) to replicate the Teen Press program in any community around the world.
Teen Press the Program
In 2007 two optimistic Santa Barbara Middle School teachers, David Teton-Landis and John Seigel Boettner, saw a wave forming around the convergence of technology and journalism. For the first time in history the internet enabled content to be streamed throughout the world, and video cameras could be found at any local electronics store. They had a realization:
What if, by bringing a teenager’s perspective to reporting, they could bring a new dimension to stories that traditional journalists could not?
What if journalism could be used as a tool, an experience, to teach students about themselves, their values, and the larger culture?
Nine years and 30+ teams later, the Teen Press program has grown and accomplished far more than they ever imagined.
The Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press is a quarterly elective program that has grown to be one the most highly sought after classes at their school. Its purpose is much larger than teaching kids journalism, it teaches students communication skills, self confidence, teamwork, and most of all, opens their eyes a much bigger world, based on informed, respectful and authentic relationships.
Over the past 9 years Teen Press students have interviewed some of today’s most influential voices such as Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Jesse Jackson, Ernest Green, Ben Affleck, Cate Blanchett, T.C. Boyle, Robert Redford, Norman Lear, Jennifer Lawrence, Sir Ken Robinson, Viola Davis, Jack Johnson, Kate Winslet, Ken Burns, Sandra Bullock, Ray Bradbury and many, many others.
What sets these interviews apart is the questions. The kids focus on what these people have learned in their journey to success and significance and what they are now doing with their influence. What are these celebrities really passionate about? How do they see the world? In the process, making celebrities human and humans celebrities.
Teen Press the Film
Teen Press is a stand alone, 32 minute documentary film created by filmmaker T.C. Johnstone about one semester of the Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press program.
T.C. was inspired to make the film when he encountered the Teen Press team at the Santa Barbara Film Festival where his film Rising From Ashes was premiering. Among the throngs of journalists and paparazzi he saw a group of 12 and 13 year old kids, poised and ready to ask meaningful questions of the stars and filmmakers who walked the red carpet.
The film follows the selection process and initial training, as well as multiple interviews—with celebrities and unknown heroes alike—throughout the United States.