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Teen newspaper raises enough money to keep publishing

May 11, 2012 |  5:49 pm

After raising more than $180,000 in two weeks, the teen newspaper L.A. Youth has enough money to stay open at least a few more months, the paper's executive director said Friday.

The newspaper that has featured journalism by Los Angeles County teenagers for nearly 25 years had struggled to continue publishing after losing foundation grants and corporate support. Its board of directors said last month that unless it raised $500,000 -- its annual budget -- by mid-May, it would have to cease operations.

But Donna Myrow, the executive director, said that in recent weeks, about $187,000 was raised, allowing L.A. Youth to publish its next issue -- which goes to press next week -- and continue operating through the summer.

L.A. Youth is printed six times a year, with a circulation of about 70,000 and an estimated readership of 400,000, Myrow said.

A typical issue consists of first-person articles by young people about their communities, culture and the challenges they face, allowing for more depth than the average high school newspaper. Over the years, L.A. Youth has tackled such subjects as life as an illegal immigrant, drug abuse, teen pregnancy and how budget cuts have hurt schools.

The students from across the county are guided through the writing process by two full-time editors.

Since the campaign began, money has come from individual donors, including one anonymous benefactor who gave $150,000, Myrow said. L.A.Youth has reached out to alumni and others through social media, including videos by students detailing the influence the opportunity to write has had on them.

L.A. Youth hasn't cured its financial ills, but Myrow said the influx of donations has bought time to pursue grant money and potential corporate partnerships, about which she's optimistic.

"This is a good cushion for a few months," Myrow said.



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Photo: Mike Fricano is one of two full-time editors at L.A. Youth who guides the student contributors through the writing process. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Video: A student contributor in one of the videos made as a part of the fundraising campaign