The "Radio Joven" project takes youths seriously, says the young Guatemalan. DW Akademie has been working with up-and-coming Guatemalan journalists since 2009, developing programs that attract young listeners.
The town of Patzún is located 80 km west of Guatemala City and every Sunday Mynor Tujal hosts his program "Alternative 20/12" there. His show and others in the Youth Radio project offer a mix of information and entertainment. Young journalists produce reports focusing on youth-related issues that are largely ignored by the Guatemalan media sector. Mynor says his program is aired in Spanish instead of the local language Kaqchikel, in order to attract as many young listeners as possible.
What role does "Radio Joven" play for you?
It's enabled me to become part of a dynamic process, one where I can be creative and develop formats that attract young listeners. Most Guatemalan radio stations have strict frameworks that basically ignore youths. Adults are always accusing us of not taking things seriously but when we do want to get involved they don't give us a space to do that. "Radio Joven" is giving me the chance to get ahead and it's also a way that I can do something for my country.
And in terms of gaining media experience?
The project has definitely sparked my passion for radio. I came here without any experience and had never thought about creating and hosting my own program. I love it!
What have you gained from the workshops?
I've learned how to improve my show, how to make it more attractive to young listeners. That, of course, is the priority. And while I've learned tools of the trade I've also learned about the problems and challenges facing Patzún youths. They're very different from the ones facing youths in urban areas.
What appeals to you most about "Radio Joven"?
I've always liked working with my own peer group. We organized concerts in Patzún, for example, that were very successful and drew youths from the surrounding villages. We didn't get any support from adults, though. They were against the concerts because they thought events like these would encourage violence.
Are there not enough opportunities for young Guatemalans?
The main problem is that we don't have a platform where we can express ourselves. We want to be part of society and we have all this energy and drive, but society doesn't give us possibilities where we can channel this drive and put it to work.