As a young filmmaker, Austin Williams, who is also a University of Washington student majoring in communication, said he could feel the “sobering reality of how negative our generation is perceived.”
Instead of simply taking the heat, Williams created a nonprofit youth organization called What’s Good 206 that connects communities with an audience through digital storytelling.“It seems like from books, articles, and mass media [that my generation] was being casted as entitled, apathetic, disconnected, and cold,” Williams said. “So at first the idea was to just shine the light on young people doing positive things to change the dominant cultural view, but as we progressed we learned that people are really hungry for positive stories, not just about young people.”The stories may be told through a youth lens in the form of an online video magazine, but What’s Good 206 tells a range of stories that are not often covered by the mass media; and a second component was added to the organization that helps the next generation of media makers. “Along the way, we realized we have an opportunity to advance the field of media by mentoring and training youth and young media makers early,” Williams said. “Now we are a combination of all of these aspects of our journey.
We tell positive stories about the ‘206’ from a youth lens, and these stories are meant to inspire, inform and engage all people, not just young people.”Scott Macklin, the Associate Director of the Master of Communication in Communication Leadership program, was brought on board after he met Williams at the Seattle Next 50 Story Runs Through It community film celebration (of which Macklin is Chair). As part of What’s Good 206’s advisory board, Macklin has hosted training sessions to help with story construction, story development, and production cycles. He also is aiding with the formation of funding proposals and creating a sustainable vision for working with high school students that is relevant culturally and pedagogically.“What I see What’s Good 206 doing is really in this hybrid moment of being a production service for stories in communities that need to be told that aren’t being told, but it also at the same time becomes a training facility for those neighborhoods to take on the ability to be embedded documentarians and curators over their own stories,” Macklin said.
Location: Seattle, WA, USA