The Digital Afterlife of Youth-Made Media: Implications for Media Literacy Education.
"The digital age has fundamentally re-configured the relationship between makers and users. Every networked action by a
user has the potential to be reinterpreted by other users. The original intentions of media makers emerge from this process
in recontextualized form that I call the «digital afterlife». The phenomenon of digital afterlife has striking implications for
youth-made media, which I explore in this article through an ethnographic analysis of behind-the-scenes activities among a
group of young people working with Youth Radio, a California youth organization, where they create high-impact media.
The case study examined here centers on a major investigative reporting initiative within Youth Radio – a transmedia
series on child sex trafficking produced by a 21-year-old reporter in collaboration with veteran editors. The analysis reveals
the ways in which youth media ceases to be «youth media», once it moves into its digital afterlife, given the extent to
which the content gets re-produced, again and again, by adult institutions with their own histories, agendas, and political
economies. The article concludes by identifying key dimensions of literacy that young people invent and deploy through
their experiments with social and mobile media, including: discovery, analytics, network mobilization, and platform