After learning to produce video and audio media at KXCI FM 91.3 and Access Tucson, Quynn Elizabeth started passing on the skills. Last year, she founded Girls Making Media, a program teaching young girls to produce public-service announcements which have played on KXCI and can be found at youtube.com/user/womankraft. Girls Making Media was recently awarded a two-year grant from the American Association of University Women, which will allow them to extend the classes and accept more girls in the fall. Classes are free and open to teenage girls with an interest in learning to produce digital media. For more information, visit womankraft.org.
Tell me about Girls Making Media.
Girls Making Media is a video and audio production series of classes for teen girls. I've been teaching teen girls to make video and audio for a number of years, but I didn't call it Girls Making Media. From this fall to now, I had an opportunity to submit for a grant with a local foundation, the Every Voice in Action Foundation, and so I formed the actual program called Girls Making Media. Girls age 11 to 17 gather for three-week sessions to make an audio and video public-service announcement about some subject that is important to women and girls. ... We did five sessions in the first year of Girls Making Media, so we just finished those.
And what were those about?
The first one was about employment rights for teens, especially for people going and getting their first job, knowing what the minimum wage is and what their rights are. The second was about the link between self-esteem for girls and preventing teen pregnancy. There was a study put out that said that Arizona has the fifth-highest teen birth rate in the nation. So these three teenagers decided to do it about that. The third one was right after President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, so they did one about ... being able to sue for your rights for equal pay. And the fourth one was about body image. The fifth one was kind of a feel-good one. There were eight girls in it, and each girl came up with a statement about what they believe in, being a young woman, what they feel is important. So they called it I Believe in Me.
What technology do the girls use to make these videos?
One of our focuses is to train girls on simple tools that they most likely have access to, so we used PCs and Windows Movie Maker, which is a very simple program, but it does the job, and it comes on every PC for free. ... My attitude is: If they show an interest, they can always get more programs as they, you know, get money. But some of these girls don't have computers at home. ... Also, the video camera ... we found a very simple, low-cost video camera that, actually, the quality is pretty darn good. That way, it makes it accessible: They don't have to buy a $1,000 camera, or even $250. It was, like, less than $100.
What changes did you see in the girls after finishing the program?
A lot of the girls had never heard their voices before. That was a big deal: To hear how they speak and to have to figure out what they think, and then to listen to and edit themselves, that was one of the big things. One girl in the last session was surprised, and it made her a little nervous at first, how self-revealing the process was, because they had to talk about what they thought, and they had to speak in front of people. And then at the end, she was thrilled. ... For most people, teenagers especially, the only time they read or speak out loud is in front of class ... and they just try to get through it as fast as possible, and it's horrible. But here, because of the digital technology, if they make a mistake reading the script or they don't say what they really meant to say, it doesn't matter; they can just do it again.
Self-confidence, self-esteem—that's the main reason I started teaching video and audio to young women and girls, because I got my start in this field doing a radio show at KXCI, participating in a couple of different radio shows at KXCI and having a TV show at Access Tucson. Having to come up with content for those shows helped me a lot, just feeling comfortable speaking and being in front of people, and I wanted to share that with other younger girls so they can start earlier than I did.