#youth #newsmedia #citizenship
Previous research has shown that young people’s voices are under- and misrepresented in the news. However, the editorial mechanisms behind this outcome remain largely unexplored. Drawing from the professional frame of media accountability, young people present journalism with a double challenge: to avoid harm while enabling participation. In this paper, we examine editorial mechanisms of including/excluding young people in the news in Sweden and Estonia through an overview of ethical breach cases affecting minors and a set of semi-structured interviews with editors. These investigations are set in the context of digital changes and from the perspectives of children's rights and childhood as a social construct. The interview study revealed that facilitating the freedom of expression might be an editorial ideal, but in practice, minors have limited value as news sources. While editors paid close attention to protective measures for underage interviewees, these measures were sometimes inconsistent and overly protective. Furthermore, the majority of ethical breach cases concerned children who were talked about, rather than with. Therefore, we argue that current editorial interpretations of media accountability limit young people’s voices in the news, while still failing to provide an effective remedy for harm.