The current study explores the socioenvironmental determinants of youth development, with a focus on the mass media and social capital; it tests a model in which news use and social capital influence youth wellbeing. Social capital is operationally defined in terms of youth involvement and perceptions of place, and youth wellbeing is measured with youth arrest and youth pregnancy. Individual-level data come from three telephone surveys of adults in 38 counties in the state of Iowa, with macro-level data coming from the same counties. Over time, youth involvement increased significantly, while youth pregnancy decreased significantly. Perceptions of place and youth arrest remained constant. After transforming the individual-level measures to the aggregate, structural equation modeling offered support for a three-step model in which news use influences social capital, which, in turn, influences youth wellbeing. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 35: 947–965, 2007.