A couple of years ago, a group of young seafood industry professionals launched an organization called Young Seafoods.
It’s dedicated to encouraging young seafood producers to get their act together.
Its goal is to give aspiring young seafood professionals the resources and training they need to produce the kinds of stories that could get them into prestigious national publications and ultimately into national advertising.
That’s the goal of a number of the group’s members.
The members include an award-winning seafood producer who works for The Washington Post, a seafood industry executive who has been featured in CNN, a young seafood editor who worked for ABC News, and a young journalist who is currently a CNN intern.
The group has received support from a number different organizations including the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit group that seeks to advance public transparency and accountability in the food industry, as well as the nonprofit Institute for Research and Education on the Food and Agriculture Policy.
The nonprofit also has a longstanding relationship with the Young Seafots.
The institute is run by former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
But the group also has an enthusiastic group of its own.
Former Young Seafores executive director Jennifer Peebles, who now serves as a senior fellow at the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy, said Young Seaforns mission is to create a culture of reporting that encourages young seafood journalists to think outside the box and to push the envelope.
Peeles said young seafood production is at a crossroads.
“It’s a challenging time in the industry, and young people are feeling like they don’t have the same opportunities as other young people,” she said.
The seafood industry is facing many challenges.
It is the most expensive sector of the U.S. economy and the nation’s most regulated one.
Many industries, including seafood, are subject to regulation that is often at odds with the industry’s public image.
Pethys CEO of Seafood Production and Processing Kevin Johnson said the seafood industry has been through a “devastating” period of economic upheaval.
“We’re struggling to get to a place where our products are actually selling and making money,” Johnson said.
“You have to start with a very small scale and build out into larger markets.”
But Young Seafops hopes to create that same kind of industry environment for young seafood journalist.
The goal is for the Young Seaers to provide an outlet to young seafood companies that they think could be in a similar position to those of their peers in the seafood business, Peels said.
And she said that could include some of the young seafood executives in the country’s largest commercial seafood companies.
For example, Johnson said, there’s one young seafood executive working in the company’s North Carolina operations who also recently completed a two-year internship in New York.
That internship could lead to the publication of a story or an internship with the company, or it could be a one-off project with the editor, Pethsey said.
But if the YoungSeaers can find the right person, they hope to get them to a point where they feel like they’re able to speak up and be part of a conversation, said Scott Josten, an editor at The Washington Times who has worked on seafood issues for decades.
“I think a lot of times people get a little too comfortable in their own comfort zone and are reluctant to get involved,” Jostens said.
Young Seafopes aims to build on the momentum of Young Seaes reporting by having a team of young journalists who are in the same position.
“Young Seafood’s goal is not just to be the voice of young people, it’s to be a voice of all young people who are going to be working in this industry,” Peebs said.
They will be reporting from the field, but also from the industry-facing offices, Pembs said, to get a real perspective on the industry.
In a recent issue of The Washingtonian, the YoungSEAO story featured an editorial by a young producer in the United Kingdom who was working on her internship.
The piece showed how a young woman was in a situation where her internship ended up costing her money.
The YoungSEAOs mission is similar to that of Young Seafires mission, said Peegs.
YoungSeaos is about the young people in the restaurant industry, she said, and they’re in a very different position than the young oyster industry or the young crab industry.
“They don’t know what the industry is like, and it’s their job to make it better, to help the industry grow and to bring about change.”
It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by many young seafood editors and journalists, who say they feel more emboldened to voice their opinion when they know they are likely to be heard.
“What’s so exciting about this is it’s not just us in the oyster business,” said Katie Egan, a senior editor at CNN