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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Submissions Are Still Open For Statewide Youth Film Contest


A statewide film competition for young people is underway. The focus is on racial healing.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in partnership with the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation received a Healing Illinois grant to fund the No Malice Film Contest

Heather Nice is with the library and museum. She said not much has changed since Abraham Lincoln was in office.

“Race is something that is very embedded into Lincoln’s story,” Nice said, “and while he did many things during his time, there’s still ramifications of past race relations and things that happened in his time today.”

Nice said the participants will have professional support. 

“It’s really powerful to have a chance to sit down with someone who has won an award or been nominated for an award in a field where you’re trying to do something,” she said. 

She is encouraging young people to attend these workshops even if they aren't sure they want to enter the contest.

Angela Staron is also with the library and museum. She mentioned that the films can be used in class curriculums across the state.

"So that's a really exciting part about it. And then also, just because of the pandemic, you know, young people don't have the outlets to deal with a lot of the difficult problems that are happening right now," Staron said.

Nice added that young people are more receptive when talking to each other.

Students can participate in workshops and brainstorm ideas with professional filmmakers through March. Submissions are due by April 30.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org. This story was written with the help of DeKalb County high school students as a part of  a collaboration with Report for America’s youth media service project.


Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.