The ‘Positive Images’ campaign is using research conducted by MORI – which reveals that the media profile of youth in Britain is significantly at odds with reality – to persuade the media to adopt a code of practice.
‘The research has shown that the vast majority of articles about young people in the media have a negative tone and are focused on crime, particularly violent crime,’ said YPN editor Steve Barrett.
‘Research shows that the number of young people involved in crime is small. Young men are more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators,’ he added.
Barrett said ‘wall-to-wall coverage of teenage gangs and violent criminals risks stigmatising a whole generation, leading to catch-all policies such as curfews that discriminate against the vast majority of young people who are just getting on with growing up’.
The MORI research uncovered the fact that relatively few young people are quoted in the media, even in positive articles, a possible reason for why youth feel that newspapers have little to do with their lives.
Positive Images will offer media relations advice to youth organisations to help them effectively promote positive actions by young people.
The Young People and the Media Awards scheduled for early 2005 will recognise media, local councils and young people responsible for positive representation of youth.
The magazine, published by PRWeek publisher Haymarket, will unveil the research results along with a draft code of practice on 12 October.