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Teens take on TV

Laura Sturza

Raising awareness about youths’ most pressing concerns and finding

creative solutions to them are among the goals of teens running the

show on their own Burbank TV series.


“I think many teens will have a voice from this,” said Jason

Meneses, a 17 year-old John Burroughs High School student working on

the show. “I think it’s going to change the way kids are going to



The City Council put $64,000 behind the project, which has 20

Burbank middle and high school students working on every aspect of

producing five episodes of the unnamed program. It is scheduled to

begin airing in April on Burbank TV6.

Topics the students plan to address in the segments include

prejudice and discrimination, depression, alcohol and drugs, sex and

school violence.

City staff assist students in putting together the 30- to


45-minute episodes. But the young people involved carry the brunt of

the load by developing the shows as a team.

“We [are] the ones making the decisions rather than the adults,”

said Valerie Reyes, 17, from John Burroughs High School. “Usually,

they’re shaping you and directing you.”

Both Valerie and Jason aim to pursue a future in broadcast

journalism, and described the team effort as one in which members

listen to one another respectfully, and go back and forth in refining


a vision for each segment.

Because they are given a chance to test every element of

production, the students are discovering which talents they want to

pursue in future work.

“Being a cameraperson is great [because] you get to put the whole

story in your perspective,” Reyes said, adding that she also enjoys

conducting interviews in front of the camera.

While the students look forward to the mark their work will leave

on the community, their own views are being changed through their


"[They] have seen the effects of prejudice and discrimination, and

it has really raised their awareness of it,” said co-producer Sommer

Embree, one of the city’s staff liaisons.

Many of the students working on the programs were involved in the

city’s 2001 Youth Summit, where the idea for the program was first


Students interested in becoming involved in the show can call

Teens in Action at 238-5328.