Using ethnographic interviewing methodology, grounded theory pedagogy, theories on youth experiences with digital media, and various digital media platforms, we engaged in a rigorous community engaged research collective in order to explore the media making scene in a rural Pennsylvania town and study the everyday digital entanglements of youth media makers. As a research group, we conducted and recorded 22 interviews with youth media-makers, transcribed and coded them, and analyzed our findings together. Using both grounded theory and theory from several communication scholars, we found that youth media-makers in Meadville were both deeply connected to the town and to their individual passions as media makers, all while navigating a neoliberal society which made their trajectory into adulthood as media makers precarious and uncertain. From these findings, we created a large-scale multimedia project to display our work. This included using Audacity to create themed podcasts and Soundcloud to host them, Mac Final Cut Pro to create documentary-style videos, Wix to create a website, and a myriad of other digital media tools which each individual may have employed to create supplemental projects. We presented the culmination of our work at a local community day celebration, which allowed us to connect our project back to the town. Ultimately, our work gave a space for youth media makers to make their voices heard in the community while also preserving their unique stories.

Project Link:

Student Creators:

Chelsea Contino: Chelsea is a senior Communication Arts major and Psychology minor at Allegheny College. On campus, Chelsea serves as the president of Animal Welfare of Allegheny, is the Event and Logistics Director of Up Til Dawn – an organization that raises funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and is also the Class of 2018 Yearbook editor. She has been closely involved with the Meadiaville Listening Project since the end of her sophomore year, engaging in summer research with Dr. Emily Chivers Yochim and staying tuned into the progress of the project. Chelsea is passionate about nonprofit work and hopes to find a career path that allows her to help others while also exploring marketing, public relations, and community engagement roles within the business or nonprofit sector.

Sophie Dodge: Sophie Dodge is a senior at Allegheny College majoring in Community and Justice Studies and minoring in Education Studies. She is also actively involved in the Communication Arts department at Allegheny, which is what led her to working on the “Meadiaville Listening Project” a multimedia collaborative project based in ethnography and oral history. Sophie is passionate about social justice, education, and storytelling! She plans on attending graduate school after finishing at Allegheny and hopes to become a teacher one day.