Media Academy

Media Academy [2017].knowledge reigns supreme

The Media Academy provides Madison teens the opportunity to work with music and film industry professionals on the development and publishing of music for social justice. By pairing teens with adult mentors to work on group-oriented and self-guided digital learning projects of interest to them, the inaugural 8-week Summer 2017 Media Academy produced several songs and music videos, a documentary, a DVD and package design, marketing and promotional plans, and a live performance in the common area at the top of State Street.

Thank you Rob "Rob Dz" Franklin and the many other artists, educators and activists who made the 2017 Media Academy possible, including:

M.O.D. Media
Urban Community Arts Network
Steve Potter
Howard Hayes
Jose Ornelas
Lesley Numbers
Brenda Konkel
Carlos Guzman
Allison Lenz
Karen Reece
Pacal Bayley
Mark Shah Evans
Corey Whitmore
Jason Kempen
Bradley Thomas
Trent Miller
Carlee Latimer
Nate Clark
Marc Gannon
Tana Elias
Melissa Guth
Uly Williams
Sooper Dooper
Cookie In The Corner Productions
Downtown Madison, Inc. / BID
Public Library Association
Madison Public Library Foundation


Soodo & The Pro

MUSIC VIDEO shot and edited by Media Academy teenagers and mentors. [producer: SooDoNiM]

READ the lyrics for "The Read Song".

James Horton, Jr. (SooDoNiM) and Jalen McCullough (Protege The Pro), wrote and performed "The Read Song" as a reflection on their summer internship at Madison Public Library under the mentorship of local teaching artist, Rob "Rob Dz" Franklin. James and Jalen capped off this national PLA iii! internship by presenting to their peer interns from around the U.S. during the wrap up event in Chicago. They began their presentation with a performance, followed by a powerpoint -- watch a snippet of that live performance!

Learn more about James & Jalen's internship

PLA iii!

James says:

"We’ve been taught how to identify a problem, learned about its impact on the community and how to create a plan of action. I’ve been able to meet new people who have improved my hip-hop artistry while also learning new skills, like beat production and engineering, to further develop my passion."

The Media Academy internships were opportunities made possible by the Public Library Association's Inclusive Internship Initiative (iii!). The overarching goal of iii! is to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to careers in librarianship. Through a summer-long mentored learning project, library mentors and interns engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. Interns have opportunities to connect with one another, and learn from mentors across the country.


Madison Public Library's Media Academy interns from Public Library Association's Inclusive Internship Initiative PLA III



Madison Bubbler Media Academy PLA iii internship
Mentor Rob Dz with Media Academy Interns Jalen & James attending the PLA iii! kickoff event in Washington, D.C.
Public Library Association III inclusive internship initiative
James and Jalen ready for a summer of learning in the Media Lab at Central Library.



"AROUND THE WAY" -- The initial idea our team developed while in D.C. was for James and Jalen to document the 8-week academy and then produce a video of action and stories. Some of that documentation still happened but they showed immense flexibility by shifting their focus toward investigating and documenting something of concern to the academy's teen participants. While spending the first few weeks building the skill sets for recording music and filming music videos, and also discussing the societal issues teen participants were concerned about, the topic of homelessness and housing insecurity rose to the top of many discussions and several participants voiced their interest in pursuing a documentary video project. Following the interests the group expressed, Jalen and James led a team in the production of Around The Way: stories of the struggle [DOCUMENTARY]

While they both oversaw the general direction of the documentary project, Jalen took the lead on filming and editing the video and James took the lead on producing the score. They each came into this internship with a wealth of talent and knowledge, and then added to their skill sets and resources while working hand-in-hand with the library and the Media Academy mentors. Jalen had taken classes in photography while in high school and used this opportunity to expand his understanding of camera options, shooting techniques and editing suites. Having an interest but no previous experience in production, James had his mind set on mastering Logic Pro X and therefore chose to structure his time around building a wide variety of instrumentals.


"THE READ SONG" -- James & Jalen capped off their internship with a presentation to their peer interns from around the U.S. during the wrap up event in Chicago. They began their presentation with a performance, followed by a powerpoint -- watch a snippet of that live performance! When they got back to Madison, they worked with Media Academy mentors at M.O.D. Media to produce the "The Read Song" [MUSIC VIDEO].


Madison Public Library Public Library Association PLA III Inclusive Internship Initiative
James getting his hands on Logic beat production software for the first time.
Media Academy with MOD Media Productions
Jalen in surround sound.



Before offering the inaugural 2017 Media Academy, the Bubbler had been a partner in several teen music projects, including:


  Classroom Mixtapes

social justice mixtape


  Rap Sessh


  Hip Hop Architecture







beats, rhymes & life

Check out what happened in the 2018 Media Academy.

2018 Media Academy at Madison Public Library