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The Prime Movers Media Program originated at George Washington University and is the nation's first journalism mentorship program targeting urban schools. The program sends veteran journalists and university interns to mentor high school students with major media projects in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

While we encourage high school students to consider careers in the news media, even if they don't become journalists, our intergenerational program helps them become knowledgeable consumers of news and information.

Our professional mentors come from radio, television, newspapers and online media companies and dedicate time to develop and mentor students in mass media programs. Interns from Temple University's Department of Journalism assist throughout a full semester. They help teachers deliver 21st century cutting-edge communications technology projects for high school students.

Our history: restoring journalism literacy in urban high schools

Prime Movers Media was established by Dorothy Gilliam, an award-winning journalist and former longtime columnist for The Washington Post. Its genesis dates back to 1997, when she learned that none of Washington D.C.'s public high schools had produced student newspapers. Believing that students should have opportunities to communicate and develop journalistic skills, she obtained Washington Post support to launch a project called the Young Journalists Development Program through which journalists from the newspaper served as mentors and coaches to help urban high school students learn about journalism and produce newspapers for their schools.

In 2004, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Gilliam started Prime Movers at The George Washington University, where it is part of the School of Media and Public Affairs. The program was updated to include the university's journalism and mass media students, who gain internship experience through a series of visits to assigned D.C. Public Schools. Interns assist teachers and work with students for a semester. Professional journalists from outlets including The Washington Post, WJLA-TV, NPR, USA Today National Public Radio and major news wire services provide expert advice and leadership to specific student projects such as producing TV documentaries about their schools, and revitalizing student newspapers, radio broadcasts and websites. Most journalists serve for periods of two weeks to two months.

Prime Movers Philadelphia was launched with Knight Foundation funding in 2007. Media students from Temple University provide instructional support to journalism programs at the city's high schools. Started by Gilliam and Acel Moore, a former award-winning columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the program gives students an after-school journalism experiences and training in print, broadcast and online media.


Prime Movers Media creates pathways for staff diversity and the next generation of journalists in the new media era. We empower professional journalists and Temple University journalism students to help high school teachers and students create and revitalize television, radio, newspaper and online media, and improve student writing, speaking, critical thinking, team building, and 21st century technology skills.

Prime Movers Media Advisory Board

Bill Lord
VP/News, WJLA-TV (ABC/7 Washington)
Arlington, VA

Cheryl Hampton
Director of Journalism Recruiting
NPR (National Public Radio)
Washington, DC

Michael Freedman
Professor of Media & Public Affairs
Executive Director, GW Global Media Institute
George Washington University
Washington, DC

Sandy Woodcock
Director, NAA Foundation & Diversity
Newspaper Association of America
Arlington, VA

Acel Moore
Associate Editor, Emeritus
Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia, PA

Temple University Involvement

The Journalism Department of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University is a founding partner of Prime Movers-Philadelphia.

Program Guidelines

Temple students enrolled in the department's High School Journalism Workshop class work with Philadelphia school district teachers and students to make Prime Movers-Philadelphia a reality and further the mission of the Journalism Department's Scholastic Journalism Initiative (SJI) to advance journalism in high schools by encouraging self- expression and public engagement for students and by offering teacher training in journalism subjects. Through the High School Journalism Workshop class and the partnership with Prime Movers-Philadelphia, Temple students are trained to be better, more knowledgeable journalists who can be leaders in an intelligent well-informed public discourse.

Summer Program

The summer High School Journalism Workshop class is a Temple University program for high school students in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Youth Initiative WorkReady program.


We are grateful to our partners for their interest and generosity. Our partners include major media companies, local government agencies and nonprofit institutions with the vision to know that today’s high school students will be the journalists of tomorrow. Their investment is commendable. We encourage others to join in supporting our unique journalism mentoring program.

Founding Partner

 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Current Partners 

White House Correspondents' Association
ASNE (American Society of News Editors)
DC Public Schools State Office of Career and Technical Education
Gannett Foundation
The Lilly Family
Thompson Reuters
Washington Press Club Foundation
Widmeyer Communications