FUSION today announced the launch of Rise Up: Be Heard 2017, the award-winning media training and mentorship program for young people from diverse backgrounds, and officially opened the online application process. The 2017 program aims to empower a new generation of journalists and community advocates living in California’s most underserved areas by providing them with journalism training, mentorship, and a platform to amplify stories about critical health issues impacting their local communities. The program is supported by a partnership with The California Endowment, a private health foundation.

This spring FUSION will hire 10 young (18-24 years old), passionate individuals for an intensive summer training and reporting experience that will focus on video and multimedia journalism. Participants will hone their skills as producers, grow their awareness of community and public health issues, and publish articles and videos that give voice to their community. FUSION will be accepting applications until April 16.

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As with the inaugural year of the program, each young reporter will be paired with a journalism mentor from Fusion Media Group (FMG) to advise them throughout the program, and will work closely with program editors and producers on story assignments. This year will place a heavy focus on using new media formats such as social media reporting, digital video, live-streaming, and 360 video to bring community voices and stories to a large audience.

The young reporters will also join up with FUSION TV’s investigative team on a reporting project centered around health issues that will culminate in a television special to air on the network in late fall.

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Launched in 2016, the Rise Up: Be Heard program trained 14 young people from underserved communities in California last year, helping them to publish dozens of stories that reached an audience of millions across FUSION’s digital media platforms. Their content also included a one-hour documentary, “The Naked Truth: Shadow Town,” produced in collaboration with FUSION TV’s award winning investigative team. The documentary put a spotlight on Kern County, one of California’s most health challenged areas, and explored issues there ranging from police relations to water quality and the undocumented community’s inability to get quality health care.

The work of last year’s inaugural class of Rise Up: Be Heard fellows was recently recognized with a Cynopsis Social Good Award. A sampling of last year’s stories can be seen here.

RISE UP is the dedicated social impact unit of Univision and the Fusion Media Group (FMG). RISE UP harnesses the power of media and storytelling to drive positive social change on issues that matter to Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and the increasingly diverse and progressive millennial generation. RISE UP works with like-minded organizations–including foundations, advocacy groups, experts, and government agencies–to develop and execute cross-platform content initiatives and campaign opportunities that tie to the most pressing issues facing the diverse communities of America.