The mission of the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative (YAJI) is to use The Arts Paper to train 9th-12th grade students from New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) to independently research, report, draft, and publish articles about hyperlocal visual, performing, and culinary arts. Many YAJI alumni stay on as freelance writers after the program.

The next semester starts this April with a weeklong intensive during NHPS spring break (April 13-17) followed by ten weeks of pitch meetings and professional mentorship after school at New Haven Public Library's downtown Ives Branch through June 23, 2020.

Students are compensated $250 for their participation and work, in what we hope will be a path to creative economic empowerment.

YAJI Students - 3

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Application Details

Students interested in YAJI are:

  • 9th-12th grade
  • Attend New Haven Public School
  • May have an interest in the arts, creative writing, and/or journalism, as well as a math or science concentration.
  • Able to attend all sessions (see full schedule below)

Application process:

  • February 1: Applications Open - apply online at the bottom of this page or pick up a PDF at all five branches of the New Haven Free Public Library.
  • February 21: Info and Close Looking Session at Yale University Art Gallery. Students will have the opportunity to practice close looking and angling.   
  • March 1: Applications Close
  • March 15: Students Notified
  • March 29: Last day for students to accept


Program Dates

  • Weeklong Intensive: Monday-Friday, April 13-17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
    • Includes lunch and bus passes for travel to and from downtown and "field trips" to Connecticut Public Radio studios at Gateway Community College, the Hill Museum of Arts, the Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (ConnCAT), and around the New Haven Free Public Library. 
  • Weekly Pitch Meetings: Tuesdays from April 21 - June 23, 3:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Main location: New Haven Free Public Library, Ives Branch



YAJI is aligned to satisfy the National Core Arts Standards, which have been adopted by the Connecticut State Board of Education. 

In the program's first year, we noticed that creative writing was getting the boot in some schools across the country and the state, and that didn't sit well with us. We wanted to draw a connection between the creative work many students do, and the critical skills it prepares them for as young journalists.

YAJI zeroes in on critical analysis and engagement, ability to put artistic ideas in cultural context, and creation of original content. Our interpretation of an "article" is broad: students are allowed (and encouraged!) to produce comic strips, original music, video, or podcasts as their final capstone projects, if they are accompanied by a written summary. We ask students to produce a total of four articles over 10 weeks. 



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