Journalistic Learning Initiative Launches Common Ground Project to Empower Gen Z Voices for National Unity 

Kansas City, MO, April 5, 2024 – The Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI) is proud to announce the JLI Common Ground Project launch on April 5, 2024. Inspired by the impassioned voices of high school journalists featured in “The Future is Ours,” JLI’s 30-minute documentary highlighting the critical issues confronting Generation Z, the Common Ground Project aims to foster unity and dialogue among youth nationwide. 

“The Future is Now” showcases the perspectives of Gen Z high school journalists as they courageously report on pressing issues such as climate change, gun violence, race relations, and gender equality. Many of these students, poised to vote for the first time in the upcoming 2024 Presidential election, reflect a generation determined to shape the future. 

The JLI Common Ground Project emerged from a timely discussion documentary participants at Harlem High School in Rockford, Illinois had about bridging societal divides. Their desire to bring the nation together inspired the JLI to create a platform and forum that enables young people to initiate and facilitate productive civic discourse about issues they’re passionate about. 

JLI’s Common Ground Project forum and resources guide students in their efforts to find common ground amid polarizing times and ultimately explore and identify solutions to today’s issues, all while emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, empathy, and mutual respect. 

This groundbreaking initiative will be unveiled at a screening of the film on Friday, April 5 and 10am (Central) at Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association (JEA/NSPA) 2024 spring convention in Kansas City, MO. Nearly 450 high school journalists typically attend. 

JLI seeks to empower youth voices through the Common Ground Project, fostering understanding, empathy, and collaboration. The project aims to transcend ideological boundaries and cultivate a shared vision for a more inclusive and united future by providing a framework for open dialogue. 

“We believe in the power of storytelling to inspire change and build bridges,” said Ed Madison, executive director of the Journalistic Learning Initiative associate professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. “The Common Ground Project embodies the spirit of collaboration and empathy, empowering students to be catalysts for positive social transformation.” 

As the nation grapples with complex challenges, the JLI Common Ground Project looks to establish a beacon of hope, inviting young people to engage in meaningful dialogue and collective action. Together, Gen Z has the potential to shape a brighter tomorrow. 

About the Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI):The Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI) is 501(c) (3) nonprofit dedicated to empowering youth through journalism education and media literacy. By providing resources, training, and support, JLI cultivates the next generation of critical thinkers and storytellers, equipping them with the skills to navigate an ever-evolving media landscape. 

For more information, please visit or contact Bo Brusco at 

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