Partner Spotlight: The Lamp – 22X20 Campaign

When did The Lamp launch the 22×20 Campaign launch and why? 

The 22×20 Campaign was officially launched at a September 22×20 planning summit in New York City. The campaign was created as a response following the 2016 Presidential election to the growing need to see active media literacy and civic engagement grow and work together. The 22×20 Campaign, a media literacy and civics initiative, was the brainchild of The LAMP. A long-time media literacy leader based out of NYC, midway through 2017, The LAMP joined with CIRCLE, a national leader in civic education and youth voting, to co-lead the campaign. Together they are bringing their diverse knowledge, skills, and networks to bear on supporting teen voices in the lead up to the 2020 election.

Youth electoral participation has the potential to grow dramatically, but to do so big changes are needed so that more youth have opportunities for their voices to be heard and see examples of youth engagement. Some barriers to voting begin before youth reach 18. This is why we’re focusing on the 22 million youth who will turn 18 between the 2016 and 2020 elections. As a result, 22×20 is a national, nonpartisan campaign and network of media, cultural and educational partners amplifying and diversifying teen voice, political expression, and media creation in the lead up to the 2020 election and beyond.

What are the main goals of the 22×20 Campaign?  

The focus of 22×20 is on the 22 Million 13-17-year-olds that will be eligible to vote by the 2020 presidential election. Our main goal is to support teenagers to become active, engaged voters through building nonpartisan media literacy skills to interpret, critique, and respond to political messages as a critical step towards engagement.

  • Youth Media Creation Toolkit for Educators (forthcoming, July 2018): This 10-module resource for educators (regardless of setting) will be a signature piece of the campaign for anyone to pick up and use. These modules will very intentionally teach media literacy skills through creation and young people using their own voice. Each free module will have needed materials, digital tools and a lesson plan, as well as partners’ complementary resources. The modules range in their time commitments and level of civic development needed.
  • Local Media Amplifying Youth Voices: We are exploring and trying to promote conversation about how local media can amplify young voices as a way to build trust in media and create more public examples of youth engagement. In addition to conversations with networks of media organizations, we are also exploring concrete local connections through partnerships with youth organizations and local media.
  • 22×20 Youth Fellowships: the campaign will support teen fellows across the country who will create media about local elections, voting and issues they care about, as well as work with their host partner to build a relationship with a local media outlet to amplify teen voices. To make this opportunity accessible to a wide range of youth, the fellowships come with a monthly stipend and small budget. Fellows will serve from August to January.
  • Action Parties as Civic Maker SpacesWe piloted this civic maker space model as part of the 2018 State of the Union (SOTU) action parties throughout the country. This is a time when the campaign supported young people to share their opinions on the key issues they’d like addressed, their vision for the country, and their response to the SOTU and related coverage.

What would you say is the most important aspect of the 22×20 campaign? 

For the most part, the fields of media literacy and civic engagement have largely remained separate. An advantage of the youth sector is that there are a lot of different models, based on varied civic goals, settings or skills to be developed. This holds promise for strategically combining interventions and spreading them to youth without civic opportunities, but the intersections are the key, as society and democracy require civic actors with many civic skills (e.g. “informed voters”). The challenge is that these practice areas are not always in conversation locally or nationally. For example, extensive work has occurred to integrate media literacy into schools, but that doesn’t always address US politics or connect to actions youth can take with information in the news. Nor does the discussion of elections and voting always include help for youth to navigate the now hectic news media. A unified approach is called for that fosters civic education, media literacy, and active participation in public discourse to have the intended impact – informed, engaged and motivated first-time voters who value the power of their vote and voice and their rights and responsibilities as members of US communities.

What are recent projects or new resources that the Lamp would like to share with other NAMLE members?

Please check out our library of educational resources on our 22× website and “9 Ways Teachers Can Continue to Support Youth Voice While Building Civic Skills“. Sign up to our mailing list so you can get the latest news on the campaign.

What are the connections between the work the 22×20 Campaign, The Lamp, and media literacy?

The LAMP has held the entire time it’s been in existence that media literacy is a tool for civic engagement. Helping youth move from passive media consumers to civic media activists, showing them that their voice and opinions on issues matter will ensure their continued involvement in our democracy.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Please see CIRCLE’s data-based argument for why the intersection of media literacy and electoral engagement are critical to democracy:

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.