A group of friends hang out behind a vacant Westinghouse Elementary school, formerly the Westinghouse Memorial High School, in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. Photo by Stephen Speranza, Looking at Appalachia

Mission

The Rural Digital Youth Resiliency Project (RDYR) is an independent nonprofit investigative reporting and research organization that advances public understanding of the unique risks that America’s rural youth face online. We convene researchers, journalists, technologists, parents, educators, religious leaders, mental health providers, civic organizations and affected community members.

Areas of focus include: Youth media literacy and perceptions of free speech; Surveillance and youth data privacy risks; Resilience to mis/disinformation targeting; Combatting exposure to violence, hate and other harmful content; Addressing increasing risks for youth radicalization to extremist ideologies online and offline; and other related research and reporting.

We take a solutions-oriented approach and are building a community of practice to document and investigate societal and public health effects from digital harms, hold systems accountable, inform policy, and build resources for community-based solutions and interventions.

Engaged Journalism and Research

In addition to publishing original research and reporting, we share “face-to-face” journalism and research briefings in settings that meet affected community members where they are. These include regional and rural screenings of reporting projects and educational documentaries in schools, libraries, faith-based organizations and other community settings; secure grand rounds presentations to clinicians, social workers and mental health professionals; privacy-protected focus groups and workshops for affected teachers, parents and youth; briefings to other researchers and collaborating organizations, workshops with journalists investigating these topics; and new experiments in sharing reporting with peer-to-peer engagement in gaming and social platforms.

We also support local newsrooms and civic organizations in their efforts to effectively document increased incidents of hate, harm, potential violence and domestic extremism in their communities. We are committed to building a community of safe, ethical practice with experts, resources and trainings aimed at supporting small, local organizations in taking on this challenging work.

Funders and Partners

The Rural Digital Youth Resiliency Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) investigative reporting and research organization. We are grateful for the reporting, research, and programmatic support from collaborating organizations, volunteers, community members and the funding community. RDYR is made possible with operating support from The Ford Foundation.

RDYR is member of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Coalition Against Online Violence.

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Collaborators in Alabama, California, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and growing

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In Collaboration and Support