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Democracy in Action

No democracy can thrive with indifference. The power of every democracy is the freedom to learn and then act upon current events as they are framed by historical knowledge.

Teen Voices of Democracy places in the  hands of America's youth the power to act on their knowledge by expressing their informed opinions about the social and political issues that affect them, their families and the nation.

Our aim is to expand the role of citizen-journalism to involve teenagers by encouraging them to become informed about the issues that will shape their future.

Formerly named the Youth Citizen-Journalist Network (YCJN), Teen Voices is a non-profit civics-education program that promotes democracy and voter-education programs with America's high school students. Teen Voices is sponsored by Instituto de Formación Democrática (the Institute of Democratic Education), based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The project was launched in August 2009 and has expanded through the 2009-2011 school years to include articles written by teenagers in every state. YCJN was re-named Teen Voices of Democracy in 2010.

This animated video about democracy won first place in the 2009 Democracy Video Challenge.

Energizing America's High School Students

A more immediate goal of Teen Voices is to energize the nation's youth as they become informed about and involved in the electoral process leading up the 2012 Presidential election.

Initial support for the Youth Citizen-Journalist Network came from the United States Election Assistance Commission in the fall of 2009. That award was from the EAC's Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Mock Election Program.

Informed Opinions About the Issues

High school students are invited to send their informed opinions and articles to Teen Voices by clicking the "Send Article" button at the top of the Front Page.

All content will conform to recognized journalistic standards and ethics and will be monitored by professional editors.

Reaching Students With the Media They Use

Cell phones and "smartphones," easily more available worldwide than are computers, are preferred young people as way to communicate with each other and retrieve information.

To reach the youth audience, Teen Voices of Democracy has created a free iPhone and iPod Touch app named "Teen Voices" that is available from the App Store on their mobile devices. Those who have other smartphones, such as those powered by Google's Android operating system, we have created a "universal" app located at

Students are able to transmit information to Teen Voices about articles they have written, using the "Send Article" button at the top of those smartphone apps.


We are extremely happy that the Dow Jones News Fund, a 50-year-old foundation that encourages young people to consider careers in journalism, has endorsed Teen Voices. Articles requested from high school newspapers will follow guidelines similar to the ones used by These Struck Our Fancy, which is part of the News Fund's quarterly publication, Adviser Update.

The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the Student Press Law Center and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association are very important and influential endorsements for Teen Voices.

What Is Citizen Journalism?

Citizen-journalism, sometimes called civic journalism, is the democratization of news content. However, not all news content is citizen-journalism.

The old adage of "Man Bites Dog" still applies. What is deemed "news" is a matter of selection. What citizen-journalism and the Internet allow now is for more news, pushing the process of selection from the hands of a few into the hands of many.

The responsibility this represents lies upon all citizens, starting at an early age.

The Future for Teen Voices

Our goal is to develop a nationwide network of high school school students who will help build the present and future of democracy with reporting about voting, political campaigns and the social and political issues that concern today's young people and their families.

Long-range plans call for Teen Voices to expand to other nations in order to give young people worldwide a voice about democracy and voting, as well as local, national and international issues that affect them and their nations.