Donna C. Myrow
"Their stories will inspire you, and some will break your heart ... Her compelling book is a passionate validation of life on those margins, a celebration of how far determination can go in tapping possibilities crouching in the shadows." – Edward J. Boyer, Los Angeles Times (retired)
"These stories are about sexuality, faith, racism and corruption, day laborers, sex, the plight of being biracial in junior high. In a word, they are about everything .... It is also an elegy to a time, not too long ago, when courage and doggedness could cut to the truths of the world we live in." – Jeff Hobbs, New York Times bestselling author of Show Them You’re Good
Don't Print That!: Giving Teens the Power of the Press tells the story of L.A. Youth, where, from 1988 to 2013, teens in Los Angeles had a unique opportunity to publish their own stories in a newspaper by and about teens distributed throughout Southern California.
About the author
Donna C. Myrow is the founder and publisher of L.A. Youth, the newspaper by and about teens. She has written about teenagers in the L.A. Times, Daily Journal, Nieman Reports at Harvard University and other publications. She served on the California Supreme Court Commission on Foster Care for six years.
Don't Print That!
"L.A. Youth provided a safe space for me. The old office near the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire was a place of mentorship, creativity and encouragement as I was discovering my voice and place in the world. I fondly remember the "open door" culture of the L.A. Youth office, made up of different backgrounds and blossoming identities, of laughter and new friendships, and of supportive adults like Donna, whose commitment to youth empowerment impacted me and so many. Donna is a visionary and activist at heart. Her creation of L.A. Youth and her unwavering dedication to young people should be celebrated. I applaud her for sharing her journey in her own words, and I am grateful to know her."
– Lena Hicks, L.A. Youth writer, 1993-1995
"Donna Myrow is a brilliant, valiant visionary who saw the need for new, young voices in journalism. Thanks to her and her earnest students, along with parents, teachers, and community leaders, a wonderful new publication was born in southern California. L.A. Youth became a transcendent phenomenon for a quarter-century! And now she has written an inspiring, important book about how it all happened." – Charles Lewis, Professor and Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop, American University
"Donna Myrow inspired and mentored generations of teen journalists through LA Youth, an independent newspaper that she founded and directed. In her new book “Don’t Print That!, Donna tells the story of LA Youth and the generations of teens who told their stories. Reading this book will hopefully inspire high school teachers, advisors and supporters to continue the fight to protect and promote student journalism. Maybe it will even inspire the next generation of teens to see journalism as the noble calling that it is. No matter the case, Don’t Print That! will inspire you and give you hope for the future." – Dennis F. Hernandez, Former Board Chair, L.A. Youth
"Giving voice to the voiceless is a basic tenet of journalism. Thank you, Donna Myrow, for bringing LA Youth into the world and for documenting its history in this important book. Teen voices, often squelched and more often ignored, deserve now more than ever to be heard—and to be heeded. – Elizabeth Mehren, former Los Angeles Times correspondent, author, Professor, Boston University.
"There are so many great things to say about Don’t Print That! and among them is that Donna Myrow is owed a debt of thanks for her vision, patience and skills. In one chapter, she asks if L.A. Youth made a difference in the lives of teens or changed adult attitudes. Yes! and Yes!, Donna! I speak as a journalist who worked at a major daily newspaper with one L.A. Youth alumnus and managed teen reporters at another major daily newspaper. Don’t Print That! reinforces the need for more opportunities for youth to read and hear their voices in the press. – Sheila R. Solomon, Chicago Tribune (retired)
"Their stories will inspire you, and some will break your heart. So many of these voices were locked within until a committed band of talented editors at L.A. Youth, a groundbreaking newspaper for teenagers, taught them to weave “words to create texture, tone and sometimes, tension.” Finding their voices did not always lead to finding their better selves. Some alums moved on to universities. Others to drugs or prison. Too often these voices are on the margins, needing validation, says Donna Myrow, the indomitable publisher and moving force behind the newspaper. Her compelling book is a passionate validation of life on those margins, a celebration of how far determination can go in tapping possibilities crouching in the shadows." – Edward J. Boyer, Los Angeles Times (retired)
"Donna Myrow’s Don’t Print That! is a unique and moving work because she goes further than to tell the stories of teenagers. She tells the stories that teenagers themselves have told through the compelling teen-run newspaper, L.A. Youth, that Myrow devoted much of her life to nurturing. These stories are about sexuality, faith, racism and corruption, day laborers, sex, the plight of being biracial in junior high. In a word, they are about everything. In some instances, they are heartrendingly personal. In others, the stories are fully, independently discovered by their young writers. Myrow’s reflective compilation of her life’s work as a shepherd of young journalists is a love letter to journalism and to youth, two pursuits which, when paired, seem to create a rare kind of magic. It is also an elegy to a time, not too long ago, when courage and doggedness could cut to the truths of the world we live in." – Jeff Hobbs, New York Times bestselling author of Show Them You’re Good
"No one listens to teens. Donna Myrow did. This inspiring chronicle of 25 years of L.A. Youth shows the stories they hold within them, and why we should listen to them. Through ingenuity, scrappiness, pure determination, and incredible dedication, L.A. Youth brought a voice to people who mattered." – Merrill Perlman, former director of copy desks, The New York Times
"A moving, funny, and poignant account of helping young people find their voices, and find their way." – Keith Hefner, Senior Advisor, Youth Communication, a nonprofit youth media organization
"A great story of teen journalists and what they can accomplish. It is a heartening read in these dark times. All I have to say is, “Do Read This!” – Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells
"It’s one thing to simply embrace the concept of freedom of the press, but Donna Myrow goes an important and essential step beyond that—she empowers younger Americans to have the freedom to be the press—the right to ask questions, to seek answers and to serve a truly underserved constituency. As someone who was lucky enough to become a journalist in my teens, I know all too well the importance of the intersection of timing, training and true mentorship. Don’t Print That! is an important addition to support this continuing and necessary conversation, and a vital tool for the fourth estate from the ground up." – Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, CBS News
"Through the story of the not-for-profit community newspaper L.A. Youth, Donna Myrow offers a moving and very real window into the thoughts and lives of American teenagers, hundreds of whom were changed by their experience of being journalists. I finished the book wanting to give everyone involved a big hug. Myrow’s story reflects her lifelong commitment to one fundamental belief that I wish more people shared: youth voices matter." – Mark Goodman, John S. Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University and former executive director, Student Press Law Center
"L.A .Youth was a font of empowerment for young people for so many years, helping them to gain a sense of dominion over their own surroundings through the unmatched power of language. The pages were written with a mixture of wonder, empathy and appropriate outrage. This book beautifully captures the enduring legacy of that accomplishment and provides a roadmap for those who might want to join in this type of work." – Garrett Therolf, reporter, UC Berkeley, Investigative Reporting Program