September 8, 2011
“I spend forty-plus hours on my site every week. I love contributing to society in that way. I’ve interviewed the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Stephen Harper, and the Queen of England”
Max Jones isn’t your typical ninth grader.
At fourteen, Max is an award-winning journalist who has interviewed US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and has spent time with the Queen of England.
“I always wanted to go to different places and witness world affairs,” says Max.
As he realized his passion for the news in 2008, he was also frustrated by the number of negative stories in the media and decided to change the course of action for the better. That’s when he created a website dedicated to good news only: felicenews.com.
“Back in Florida, it started with just two kids at my house doing a webcast. Then I taught myself how to design websites, and before I knew it, 5 million people worldwide were connected.”
Perseverance is what keeps Max reaching new pinnacles every time. “I spend forty-plus hours on this site every week. I love contributing to society in that way. I’ve interviewed the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Stephen Harper, and the Queen of England.”
Currently, Max is in the process of creating a documentary called Seoul Sisters, about North Korea refugees in South Korea and China and the problems they face. The film is inspired by the story of two American Journalists, Laura Ling and Yuna Lee, who were detained in a North Korean prison in 2009 as they crossed into the country and attempted to interview the refugees there. They were sentenced to 12 years of hard labour, but after continuous efforts from their families and the US government, they were finally released.
“Happily, Laura and Yuna were released and brought back home, but they never got to finish their story, so I wanted to finish it for them,” says Max. He hopes to complete the documentary by the end of this year.
With so much world exposure, Max’s recipe for success is that he never takes no for an answer. On several occasions, such as the 2010 Toronto G-20 Summit, Max had applied for media accreditation but was refused because of his age. This didn’t stop him, as he kept calling the Prime Minister’s office, pressing to receive access to the delegates at the summit. Two months later, his wish was finally granted.
“I told them about my website and how many viewers we have, and that we are trying to create a dialogue around the world to get youth more involved in political affairs.”
For a kid who has flown 1.4 million miles across the world and has witnessed history in the making, there remains one person who supports him the most — Max’s mom.
“My mom is my best friend and is the most valued person on my team. I don’t know what I would do without her.”
-Visit www.felicenews.com for happy news around the globe, covered by a young and vibrant team of international correspondents
-To get involved with the website, email your (happy) story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
-Visit http://www.seoulsistersfilm.com/index.html to view updates about Seoul Sisters on the website’s blog section
Max Jones, 14, has been making a difference for years