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NEPM Media Lab gives youth participants introduction to the field of journalism

NEPM Media Lab interns Maggie Kocsmiersky (left) and Cora Swan

July 18, 2023, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The NEPM Media Lab is up and running as a hybrid workplace experience for students in New England Public Media’s newly renovated facilities in downtown Springfield.

In partnership with New England Farmworkers and MassHire, as a worksite for the Youthworks program, this media internship will employ 15 youth producers from Springfield and Holyoke between the ages of 14 to 18 for the summer. Two additional college students, hired by NEPM, are trained as media mentors to help facilitate the workshops and plan the curriculum for the entire summer.

The program is led by Vanessa Pabon, NEPM senior director of education and community engagement, and Media Lab Coordinator Ismary Santiago-Lugo. Maggie Kocsmiersky and Cora Swan are the 2023 Summer Media Lab interns.

Maggie Kocsmiersky is a recent graduate of Springfield Central High School and an incoming freshman at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She will be majoring in advertising and marketing communications with a minor in French. She is a Media Lab alumna and hopes to eventually own her own company or brand with a focus on making the world more sustainable and ethical.

Cora Swan is a recent graduate of Bay Path University with a bachelor’s in digital media arts and film. As a digital artist, she has created artwork professionally for four years and was recently commissioned to illustrate a children’s book. She grew up in Springfield.

During the summer, youth producers will work at NEPM and be provided with a hybrid work schedule that introduces a flexible workplace experience. Interns will explore journalism from professionals in the field while gaining confidence to produce their own media content.

“I have used the skills learned during the past couple of years in my everyday life, giving me unique experiences and tools, I am now prepared for a future creating content," said Kocsmiersky.

Youth producers will be paired with NEPM and MassLive reporters who will coach them throughout the program. They will be assigned weekly media challenges, from learning how to write a newspaper article to producing audio, video, and podcast content. They will tour MassLive and The Republican newspaper.

“As a former NEPM production intern and former teacher that always wanted to work in public media, I’m looking forward to teaching our youth how to produce media that tells the stories of our communities and excited to learn from them," Santiago-Lugo said.


New England Public Media is a community-supported, independent non-profit organization based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Through a deep commitment to independent local journalism, trusted educational content, inspired cultural offerings, and civic engagement, NEPM endeavors to share new voices and inspire new conversations. It provides audiences with a broad array of local and national programs across all media —TV, radio, online, and mobile, including PBS and NPR programs as well as locally produced series, podcasts and specials. Its four digital TV channels, and two radio networks present news, jazz and classical music, documentaries, talk, drama, plus cultural and educational programming.

For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media