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Global Kids, Inc. and NewsHour Extra Capture Teen Opinion in New Report

What do teenagers think about the U.S. presence in Iraq? About a constitutional amendment to prevent gay marriage? About America’s expanding waistline? A new report, “What Were They Thinking? Today’s Youth On Yesterday’s News,” published by Global Kids and NewsHour Extra, shows how teens across the nation tackled these questions and responded to other important current events. Their answers came from online dialogues conducted on Newz Crew, a website run by and for teens to discuss the news that affects their lives. More than 300 teenagers participated in the dialogues, launched March 1, 2004, which were monitored by students at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. The full report can be downloaded from www.NewzCrew.org/wwtt. Or click below for more info.

Following are a couple of examples of how teens responded to challenging questions about gay marriage and obesity, just two of 70 topics raised by Newz Crew members:

“I just kind of wanted to get everyone’s opinion on gay marriage. Should it be legalized or should it remain illegal, and why?” asked Newz Crew member Jokerswild06 of Indiana. “You can argue with the dictionary definition for marriage if you like,” challenged Lil_caged_goth_poet of Nevada, “‘The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law’.” Bushsucks in Michigan offered the following rebuttal: “I use Webster’s too. It’s a good dictionary. However, you excluded the second part of the definition: ‘the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage’.”

“Hey what do you guys think about Obesity in the US?” asked Newz Crew member paigenicole9 of Pennsylvania. “If you think about it, junk food is a lot cheaper than healthy food,” offered Addicted to CD of Delaware. “The price of vegetables are ridiculous. Yet you see Herr’s Potato Chips on sale for .99¢. No wonder there are a lot of obese people in the world!”

Featured dialogues are accessible at www.NewzCrew.org. The dialogues on Newz Crew will reconvene on September 1, 2004, when teens will discuss the Republican National Convention, the continued war on terrorism, and the situation in the Sudan.

About Global Kids, Inc.
Founded in 1989 and incorporated as an independent not-for-profit organization in 1993, Global Kids empowers New York City youth with the knowledge, skills, values and experiences needed to become global citizens and community leaders. Through its leadership development and academic enrichment programs, Global Kids educates youth about critical international and domestic issues and promotes their engagement in civic life and the democratic process. Through professional development initiatives, Global Kids provides educators with strategies for integrating experiential learning methods and international issues into urban classrooms. In 2002-2003, Global Kids reached almost 9,000 teens and educators, and ninety-six percent of the high school seniors who participated in the leadership program are now enrolled in college.

About NewsHour Extra
NewsHour Extra is the NewsHour’s award-winning current events Web site for students and teachers. Founded in 1997, it provides students with the background and context necessary to make connections between what students are studying in school, and what’s happening in the world. Extra looks at the news stories developed by the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer through the eyes of young people.

Through its partnerships with the National Council for Social Studies, NewsHour Extra provides teachers with innovative and practical lesson plans for teaching current events.

Media Contacts:

Jonah Kokodyniak, Global Kids, 212-274-9017, jonah@globalkids.org
Shermaze Ingram, The NewsHour, 703-998-2175, singram@newshour.org

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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