The Media Academy internships were opportunities made possible by the Public Library Association's Inclusive Internship Initiative (III). The overarching goal of III is to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to careers in librarianship. Through a summer-long mentored learning project, library mentors and interns engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. Interns have opportunities to connect with one another, and learn from mentors across the country.
The initial idea our team developed while in D.C. was for James and Jalen to document the 8-week academy and then produce a video of action and stories. Some of that documentation still happened but they showed immense flexibility by shifting their focus toward investigating and documenting something of concern to teen participants. While spending the first few weeks building the skill sets for recording music and filming music videos, and also discussing the societal issues teen participants were concerned about, the topic of homelessness rose to the top of many discussions and several participants voiced their interest in pursuing a documentary video project. Following the interests the group expressed, Jalen and James led a team in the production of Around The Way: stories of the struggle.
While they both oversaw the general direction of the project, Jalen took the lead on filming and editing and James took the lead on producing the score. They each came into this internship with a wealth of talent and knowledge, and then added to their skill sets and resources while working hand-in-hand with the library and the Media Academy mentors. Jalen had taken classes in photography while in high school and used this opportunity to expand his understanding of camera options, shooting techniques and editing suites. Having an interest but no previous experience in production, James had his mind set on mastering Logic Pro X and therefore chose to structure his time around building a wide variety of instrumentals.
"We’ve been taught how to identify a problem, learned about its impact on the community and how to create a plan of action. I’ve been able to meet new people who have improved my hip-hop artistry while also learning new skills, like beat production and engineering, to develop my passion further."