Updated at 8:24 p.m. ET on May 28, 2021.
Each installment of “The Friendship Files” features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with the founder, a former editor, and several former student journalists of L.A. Youth, an independent nonprofit newspaper for and by teens in the Los Angeles area that ran from 1988 to 2013. They reflect on how their time at the paper shaped their values and the people they became as adults; how meaningful it is for high schoolers to have their voices heard; and the friendships they’ve carried with them from their teen-journalism days.
Johnathon Briggs, 47, a communication strategist who lives in Naperville, Illinois
Stephanie Cruz, 34, a postdoctoral researcher who lives in Seattle
Mike Fricano, 45, a director in the strategic-communications division at UCLA, who lives in Los Angeles
Donna Myrow, 76, the founder and former publisher of L.A. Youth and author of Don’t Print That!: Giving Teens the Power of the Press, who lives in Palm Springs, California
Prisco Serrano, 47, an immigration lawyer who lives in Los Angeles
Jason Sperber, 47, a stay-at-home dad who lives in Bakersfield, California
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: What brought you all to L.A. Youth, and how did you get to know each other?
Stephanie Cruz: Donna is our connector.
Johnathon Briggs: The roads all lead back to Donna.
Donna Myrow: I'm the founder and former publisher of L.A. Youth, the newspaper by and about teens. I’ve known all of these folks since they were kids in high school. We’ve kept in touch over the years.