The YMCA Youth Press Gallery is program for young people aged between 16-25 currently studying, or who have an interest in, political journalism, photography, or filming to gain valuable experience serving as the Press Gallery for the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament program. Each year 14 talented young Victorian journalists join forces to form the Youth Press Gallery, and 2020 is no exception. You can meet all of the 2020 Youth Press Gallery members, and read some of their published works, on the Youth Press Gallery website.
I’ve been pretty involved with the student and youth media scene in Melbourne over the past few years, so I’d heard a lot about Youth Press Gallery before I applied at the start of the year. As someone who’s obsessed with journalism, politics and youth issues, I was itching to join the program I’d heard so many great stories about.
Sliding into the press gallery seats in Parliament House for the first time was both a humbling and empowering experience. The backs of the chairs displayed the plaques of news organisations such as the ABC, the Age and the Herald Sun, and the desks were engraved with the names of renowned journalists of the past and present.Ashleigh, 2019 Youth Press Gallery participant
"Before joining Youth Press Gallery, I was quite nervous about pitching to media outlets. While I had a lot of experience in student and youth media, I’d never been published outside of those realms. Through Youth Press Gallery, my articles were published in Crikey, Country News, the Dandenong Star Journal and the Endeavour Hills Hallam Doveton Star Journal.
"We often had cause for celebration, as someone would announce their pitch had been accepted by a media outlet or their work had just been published... There was never really any competition amongst the Youth Press Gallery team, just support and team work. We celebrated each other’s achievements as much as we celebrated our own.
"Through this program, the Youth Press Gallery team has not only been given the chance to flex our journalistic skills, but we were able to play an integral role in ensuring the youth of this state are not just heard inside the chambers of parliament, but in national media outlets such as the ABC and the SBS, and local ones such as the Macedon Ranges Leader and the Bendigo Weekly.
"If Youth Parliament and Youth Press Gallery are supposed to be models for the future, then the future of politics and journalism in this nation is looking pretty bright."