Listen up, Australia. The first ever national digital media service produced and presented entirely by young people is on its way.

When talking about “connected teenagers,” online-bullying, selfies and an unhealthy addiction to social media tends to dominate the public conversation. But we also know that young people are capable of much more positive things when it comes to their digital lives.

That is why The Telstra Foundation is supporting SYN Media, a non-profit media organisation based in Melbourne, to take their program Australia-wide.

At SYN Media ‘young people run the show’.

Each year, SYN not only equips more than 1,000 young people with the skills they need to be creators of digital media, they enable them to lead and be active participants in the wider media conversation through their multiple broadcast platforms 90.7FM Melbourne (community radio), C31 Melbourne (community television) and online.

SYN is Australia’s largest youth media organisation, but its reach has so far been mostly limited to Melbourne. Now, through a new initiative, young people across the country will be able to participate and have a national stage.

In the words of Tahlia Azaria, General Manager of SYN Media, “The Telstra Foundation has been a fantastic help to us since our first partnership through the Cyber Safety grants program in 2008, and more recently the Everyone Connected grants program in 2013. We’re very excited to partner again through the Social Innovation Grants Program, which is where our next chapter begins; this is where it gets even more exciting”.

Tahlia is passionate about the power of media to communicate a message and the impact it can have on marginalised communities, and this is what this initiative is all about.

“We now have an opportunity to showcase young people on an even larger scale, and a greater chance to turn the negative portrayal of young people in the media around. We want to close the geographic divide so that all young people – regardless of location – can start a dialogue and shape the broader media discussion both where they live and at a national level,” added Tahlia.

SYN will make innovative use of digital technologies to give young people the support they need to collaborate, contribute and to lead the media conversation, no matter where they live.

SYN will start in regional centres and equip young people with the skills and resources to create regional media hubs that enable the young people in their communities to take control of the airwaves.

The nation-wide regional media leaders initiative kicks off in early 2014 and is being delivered with the proud support of the Telstra Foundation, the Community Broadcasting Foundation and the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.

Sahema Saberi and Arek Mamur on SYN