Checking in with: Marvin Couch

It’s Testing Phase, and we’ve been making the rounds to participate in our Youth Challenge cohort’s events throughout Chattanooga. We’ve talked about these solutions for 6 weeks. Now we get the chance to see them in action.

On Tuesday at the South Chatt Recreation Center, Marvin greeted his group of middle and high schoolers and introduced Brianna, a Communications Major at UTC who was helping lead the class. The topic of the day: interviewing and framing a photo. These twice-weekly meetings are preparation for the students’ roles as editors, photographers, and contributors to their very own online magazine. They can pick their own assignments, from local fashion to sports to community events.

Marvin wants this magazine to be an exercise in “making the positive outshine the negative.” Empowered to present events and happenings going on around them — in their own words, with their own pictures — the students can present an insider’s point of view to their world.

But first, they’re learning the essentials. Brianna walked them through the basic questions behind interviewing: Who, What, Where, When, Why. The group took turns interviewing each other, listening for a compelling angle and writing notes. From watching the interactions around the room, it was apparent that asking intentional questions of their friends and peers was an exhilarating, though sometimes uncomfortable, experience.

They finished their time together with a workshop on how to frame photographs, taking turns creating a composition and getting input on what makes a well-composed picture.

“I just really want to write about what’s going on in Chattanooga,” one student said. We’re excited that Marvin is creating a space for her to do just that.

Practicing interviews and photography