Our Islands, Our Future

On a recent weekend in May, the Focus Maui Nui Youth Alliance spent an unforgettable few hours at the offices of The Maui News, where they learned what it takes to interview, write, edit, photograph and produce stories for media publication. The visit was in keeping with the Youth Alliance purpose of gaining a greater understanding of key institutions in our community, preparing them to become leaders of change.

Guided by Maui News staffers Ilima Loomis, Lee Imada, and Matt Thayer, 20 Youth Alliance members began with an orientation session, followed by a workshop on the finer points of interviewing and drafting a story from the material they gathered. Panelists drawn from the community, invited by Loomis, willingly volunteered as the students’ interview subjects. The panelists included leaders from the Maui Humane Society, the Institute of Astronomy, Na Koa Ikaika baseball, the Reef Association, and the Drug Court. Students then used computers at the newspaper offices to compose their stories, which were reviewed by several other staff members who volunteered their time to help with the editorial process. The best stories will be chosen for publication.

One group of Youth Alliance members participated in a media photography workshop led by award-winning staffer Matt Thayer. He guided the students on using the professional-grade equipment to capture a particular feeling or mood from their subjects, picture composition, and documenting the session itself. “I really enjoyed learning about the technical aspects of camera work and I better appreciate what’s involved in taking the perfect picture and working under deadlines,” observes King Duke, a Youth Alliance member attending Maui High School.