What’s Your Jawn?: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Interview-Based Writing

By Amy Marcus

VoteThatJawn’s Mission: Using the power of youth voice and connection, #VoteThatJawn aims to bring 18-year-olds and other first-time voters to the polls—beginning a process toward full civic engagement—not just for a charismatic candidate, but to advocate for youth issues, youth safety, agency, and inclusion.

In a few paragraphs, we’re going to invite you to write a blog for VoteThatJawn.com. But before that, because we know that young people take in information all sorts of ways, we’re going to invite you, right now to do two things:

  1. Follow @VoteThatJawn on Instagram. Yes, we want followers! But we hope that this IG account will give you a look at our information delivery system: how one youth-led organization is combining information and graphics to communicate important non-partisan messages.

  2. Participate in what we do, bringing youth in to read and learn, by making a short PSA on your phone now. It’s a video of you saying: “Vote That Jawn!” Drop it here, and in a couple weeks, come look for yourself on our website banner!

Now on to the summer J-school:

Objective and assignment: We want you to write about your jawn—that issue that ignites a fire in you and can or could or will drive you to the polls. We want to hear your voice, and we want you to support it with the work of someone in the greater Philadelphia community. Maybe a local legislator is pushing for change in Harrisburg or an activist is leading the community charge right here at home. Maybe a researcher or professional could provide the insight you need to write a spectacular piece. Whoever you choose, we’ll show you how to conduct an interview and transform it into a great piece of writing.

Interview-based writing basics:

  1. Finding a subject and making contact