Message from our CEO

Jayne O'Donnell, UHMP student Nygel Bross and his journalism teacher Angela Glenn at Kenwood High School in Essex, MD.

It is such a pivotal time in the Urban Health Media Project’s history. 

Our student-instructor teams covered mental health and social justice work by youth leaders in six cities under a new content partnership with the nonprofit America’s Promise Alliance. Another UHMP team will cover the December annual meeting of the Sozosei Foundation, a new funder working on the decriminalization of mental illness. We’ll also launch a TikTok account on the topic, bringing youth into the policy conversation about policing, addiction and mental health treatment. 

As with my USA TODAY job from ’94 until April and Content and Programs Director Brie Zeltner’s job until last year at the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, no one outside of our (virtual) newsroom is telling us what we can or can’t say in our multimedia content. We’re simply seeing how content partnerships can foster the win-win-win and, a new win, as we help students, communities, publications and, now, health-related organizations get their messages out in the breaking news-focused media.

What we’re doing is so pivotal these days, in fact, we’re getting ready to change our name. 

Say what? 

Yep, we’re outgrowing our name geographically as we reach beyond big cities to include students whether they’re in the Rockies or Rhode Island’s Narragansett Tribe. (Yes, we’ll have more indigenous students soon.) And this year we expanded to cover mental health in LGBTQ+ youth.

Importantly, we don’t want to conjure any negative connotations of “urban” when describing the young people we’re training to do multimedia journalism. (In case you missed it last year, the fashion and music industries--including the Grammy’s-- largely abandoned the term. )

We’re working with a team of students, staff, lawyers and our board to develop a new name that will be announced by the new year.

But back to revenue raising. Giving Tuesday is around the corner - November 30! We’re looking for contributors willing to match donations and you’ll be hearing directly from some of our new students, showing off their work and asking for your financial support! Join existing funders including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health and Sozosei in supporting these efforts.

Email me with a pledge (!) at jodonnell@urbanhealthmedia.org. Hope to hear from you soon!