Radio Rookies Project (WNYC)
Winner 2005 | WNYC Radio
Radio Rookies is ingenious. In the short term, the six-year-old WNYC project generates illuminating feature article/essays by, for, and about teenagers, a radio audience rarely catered to by anyone but music programmers and advertisers. Long term, it may produce a multicultural new generation of audio journalists. New York City teens trained in WNYC workshops take home tape recorders and microphones with which to record interviews with family and friends, ambient sound, and their own ideas and thoughts. With guidance from executive producer Czerina Patel, associate producer Miguel Macias, consultant editor Karen Michel, and mix engineer Wayne Shulmister, they assemble highly personal, 12-15 minute reports characterized by startling candor. The 2005 broadcasts included 16-year-old Catalina Puente’s tale of her obsession with a female classmate she nicknamed “K-licious.” Her account includes her coming out as bisexual to her parents, whose reactions she records as well. Sierra Leone-born Veralyn Williams, 19, reports on her illegal-immigrant status and frustrating quest for a green card, which initially angers her nervous, secretive parents but ultimately prompts them to take action themselves. Derrick Hewitt, 14, captures an instance of his own bad temper on tape and ends up reporting about his feelings of alienation and anger and how he deals with them. For teaching teens the fundamentals of radio reporting and giving listeners unvarnished insights into worlds ignored and disregarded, Radio Rookies is awarded a Peabody.
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