Coal Cracker Youth-led Project Invites Input

Coal Cracker Youth-led Project Invites Input

What’s a Coal Cracker? Think you know? It’s a question being posed by young Coal Region journalists to launch a new Mahanoy City-based youth-led media project titled, appropriately enough: Coal Cracker.

Young participants are inviting the public—of all ages—to stop by the Mahanoy City Public Library during regular hours of operation to answer the question: “What’s a Coal Cracker?” by writing on, drawing on or decorating a 24″ x 36″ poster. The exercise is a way to explore our diverse perceptions of what it means to be a part of the Coal Region community. From longtime residents to newcomers, folks with family who’ve worked in the mines or those of us with no historical connection to the anthracite industry, Coal Cracker wants to know what you think about what it means to live here.

Coal Cracker, a new youth-led media project based in Mahanoy City, invites the public to answer the question "What's a Coal Cracker?" by writing on, drawing on or decorating this 24" x 36" poster on display at the Mahanoy City Public Library through mid-January 2014.

The public is invited to answer the question “What’s a Coal Cracker?” by writing on, drawing on or decorating this poster on display at the Mahanoy City Public Library through mid-January.

The experiment launches on Thursday, December 12 at 3:30 pm with a brief ceremony at the Mahanoy City Library. The large poster will then be on display and available for feedback through mid-January. Those who can’t make it to the library can use the hashtag #CoalCracker on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to share photos or ideas. The results may be published in Coal Cracker’s inaugural issue expected during spring 2014.

To help spread the word, download a PDF of the poster HERE.

Coal Cracker is a project of Heron’s Eye Communications, a publishing, marketing and project management firm with offices in Schuylkill and Pike counties. Participation is free and open to young people ages 12-18. No prior journalism experience is required. Editorial meetings will begin during January 2014 with space provided by the Mahanoy City Library and start-up funding from the non-profit news support organization, the Community Reporting Alliance.

“Young people are the future of our communities,” says Heron’s Eye Co-Founder and Coal Cracker Publisher Krista Gromalski. “Their ideas and input can help to shape our small towns and neighborhoods in meaningful ways, but their voices are often under-represented in the media.” The goal of Coal Cracker is to highlight young voices while providing a foundation in media literacy and journalism techniques. Participants will gain interviewing, photography and writing skills as they develop short articles, profiles and images to be published in print or online.

“We’re extraordinarily pleased to see Coal Cracker getting off the ground,” says Community Reporting Alliance Executive Director Barbara Gref. “We believe local journalism thrives when communities, and especially young people, become involved in projects like this. When local news and information thrive, communities flourish.”

For more information, email Coal Cracker or visit them on Facebook and on the web.

  1. Thank you for your comment, Dave. Can we paste it onto the Coal Cracker poster during Thursday’s event at the Library?

  2. My Mom’s family is from Mahanoy City so I know what I’m talking about. A CoalCracker can be male or female young or old. The term came from cracking coal down to a usable size. Coal was a mainstay in the region. You worked coal you ate by coal you lived by coal. Hard times for sure but like our Farmer friends CoalCrackers are part of the fabric of America. CoalCrackers are good, honest, hard working Patriots. For anyone or group to vilify our coal or our CoalCrackers because we cling to our guns and Religion is an Abomination!

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