Youth EB Picks: 10 Years Since Iraq from War News Radio

April 2, 2013 in GPRX Blog by A.D. Quig

Satellite image of Iraq in August 2003

For those of us still creating youth media, the 10 years the U.S. spent in Iraq has lasted for a huge chunk of our lives. We've all been affected, one way or another, by the political decisions of the Bush years, and the lasting impression on the Obama administration. It's hard for people our age to cover these issues — not just because we can't hop on a flight to Baghdad, grab a fixer, and stick a microphone in someone's face, but because it's just hard to cover war in the first place. Part of our job is to identify conflict and present both sides, but things get much more complicated on a geopolitical scale, and without much prior experience. But it's still important that youth producers give it a try — and that's what WNR does in this piece.

It's difficult to commemorate an anniversary like this and try to cover a decade in half an hour. 10 years is a long time, and a lot has happened in the US, Iraq, and the Middle East since 2003. Regardless, WNR managed to revisit a variety of issues in their broadcast, with lots of voices that many of us wouldn't otherwise hear – doctors, humanitarian workers, and Iraqis.  The most compelling portions of the piece were the reports of human rights abuses, and the stories of the doctors — it's always interesting to hear from people with boots on the ground, and how the rest of the world reacted to their experiences.

Though the classic "I told you so," does less good today in the case of the humanitarian crisis, the fact that a generation of reporters are aware of these canary in the coal mine situations is extremely valuable for future international reporting. What kinds of things are we hearing out of Syria? Egypt? Afghanistan and Iraq? I'm sure this reporting experience not only gave War News Radio some good lessons in finding sources and working through the tough spots, but also gave them a passion for issues-based reporting on an international scale. I have no doubt that given more resources, this team could very easily produce some of the most unique and much-needed reporting that others in our generation can connect to. They've already opened my eyes to a handful of stories I wasn't hearing from a decade of reporting, and I'd like to hear more. It's been 10 years, but this isn't the last thing we're going to hear out of Iraq.

Signal: See Who Placed in the Zeitfunk Awards

March 25, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

Zeitfunk Awards

PRX's annual Zeitfunk awards recognize the pieces, producers and stations with the mostiest, including our favorite category: Most Licensed Youth-Produced Piece. The takeaways: See if you placed! View the full Zeitfunk results.

What We're Listening To

2013 is off to a very good start. Listen!

Jaya Montague
Photo: Aidun Un

Photo: Lydia Daniller

  • Good Loose Free, from OutLoud Radio's awesome intergenerational storytelling project. A profile of Jesse, who exuberantly connects sexuality, color, clothing and spirituality.

Sarita Meena
Photo: Priyanka Pacahuli

  • India's Shifting Gender Roles: One Girl's Tale from Rhitu Chatterjee, supported by PRX's Global Story Project. 12-year-old Sarita is playful, fearless and ambitious - she's also bound to her family and well aware of her duties as a daughter. Chatterjee explores the complex shift of India's gender roles in this engrossing and sound-rich portrait.

Radio 201: Sonic IDs


Photo: Generation Justice

Vox pops are a perfect teaching tool for Radio 101. But when you're ready to move to the next level? Consider the Sonic ID. Sonic IDs capture "little fragments of life as lived by our neighbors." Just 30-60 seconds long, Sonic IDs force the producer to develop an ear for good tape. What does that sound like? Transom Story Workshop recently produced a pile of great examples, plus some guidelines on how to make them.  

This Just In

  • Looking for recognition of your work? Contest opportunities abound! See: Looking@Democracy, which offers 100K in prizes for creative media about strengthening democracy, the Digital Storymakers's Award for nonfiction multimedia, and Third Coast Festival's ShortDocs Challenge which combines food and audio (!)
  • International childrens' radio network Radijojo invites submissions to its Global Green Kids environmental project. All "green" audio submissions welcome.

Youth EB Picks: What Are Little Boys Made Of? from RadioActive Youth Media

March 4, 2013 in GPRX Blog by A.D. Quig

photo-4 (1)This piece about growing up transgendered is just the kind of thing the youth media landscape needs — peers talking to their peers about their part in big news. Not just because Cayden's story itself is big news — in fact, to his family this transition was just a matter of time — but because it's ordinary news that makes big issues easier to understand. It's a microcosm of a larger community that people would be well served to get to know better. Stories like this from CNN, or this from the LA times, or this from MTV, are probably just the beginning of decades of coverage on transgender issues. If we have an upcoming generation of reporters who can handle stories like Cayden's with creativity and earnestness, then I'm excited for more coverage of transgender life down the road. These kinds of stories deserve continuous noise in the new media landscape.

A great story that cracks the door open on the reality of transition inside a family – from kid to young adult, and from girl to boy. I could easily picture Cayden's room, his smile, his childhood; but also his transition – injecting himself with testosterone, standing in front of a mirror dreaming of a mustache, and playing Ken.

This story has a good use of scene setting and clip choice, with easy flowing writing and fantastic audio quality. My only gripes are that the story got a bit wordy around the 4 minute mark and lost the charm of Cayden's everyday life. If Nina could have talked to Cayden's doctor, Dad, teacher, therapist, or "showed" us instead of "telling," this story would have been darn near perfect. This is a very solid, longer form, human-driven piece that would fit nicely into a sexuality, youth focused, or gender issues programming. A great exploration of an under-covered topic. It's well worth a listen (and maybe a re-listen).

Musings on Love from Philly Youth Radio

February 21, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

"Twilight and other movies are just fantasies…you have to wake up in order to find love." — Jaya Montague, "What Twilight Didn't Teach Me About Love" from Philly Youth Radio

For the month of Valentine's Day, Philly Youth Radio offers three totally different reflections on love in their awesome new series, "At the Heart, from the Heart." See the promo video (for radio! We love it!) and hear the pieces below.

Philly Youth Radio – "At the Heart, From the Heart" (trailer) from aidan un on Vimeo.

The Road Not Taken…

January 29, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

Have there been moments in your life when you came to a fork in the road?

On the 50th anniversary of Robert Frost's death, Chicagoans recite Frost's most famous poem and discuss their own paths taken, and not. From the brilliant producers at Curie Youth Radio.

Photo Credit: Eric Vondy via Compfight cc

The Best Youth-Made Radio of 2012

January 15, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel


Wolf image via Shutterstock.

From heartbreak, to ice cream to immigration, over 450 new youth-produced stories were added to the PRX catalog in 2012. This year also brought some of the best youth radio stories we've heard, which made creating our Best Youth-Made Radio Stories of 2012 Playlist more difficult (and fun) than ever.

Photo: Trenton Good, City High Radio

Hear this remarkable collection of honest, well-produced, and original storiesBig ups to the youth radio groups on the playlist!:

  • Louder Than A Bomb 2012, Chicago, IL
  • RadioActive, Seattle, WA
  • Philly Youth Radio, PA
  • Deep in the Heart, a Project of Texas Folklife Center, Austin, TX
  • City High Radio, Tucson, AZ
  • Alaska Teen Media Institute, Anchorage, AK
  • Zumix Radio, Boston, MA
  • Youth Media Project, Santa Fe, NM
  • Outloud Radio, San Francisco, CA
  • Youth Radio, Oakland, CA
  • Blunt Youth Radio Project, Portland, ME
  • Radio Rookies, New York, NY
  • Open Orchard Productions, Los Angeles, CA
  • Terrascope Youth Radio, Cambridge, MA
  • Youth Spin, Austin, TX
  • Free Spirit Youth Media, Chicago, IL
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Youth EB Picks: Coming of Age 'Illegal' from MPR News

January 10, 2013 in GPRX Blog by dylan

Nineteen-year-old Brenda from Minneapolis, Minnesota considers herself an American citizen, but to the US government she is an illegal immigrant.  Coming to the US when she was seven, she was carried over the Mexican-American border by her mother.  Now, twelve years later, she lives with her mother, stepfather, sister, little brother, older brother and his son.  She had to quit school a month before graduating so she could work to help support her family, but has since gone back to finish her education and wants to go on to get a job working with children.

This was a well-crafted and interesting piece, with great interviews and an inspiring story.  The only problem I had was after the mother’s interview; it was a little confusing, but it made more since later on in the story.  All in all, though, I found this to be an excellent presentation.


Youth EB Picks: UNBELIEVABLE! from American Student Radio

January 7, 2013 in GPRX Blog by A.D. Quig



In the winter of 2008, I made the four hour trek from my hometown down to Bloomington. The drive was bleak, the landscape was gray, and the radio signal got pretty weak somewhere between Kokomo and Indianapolis. But I was going to see Eric Gordon and D.J. White at my first Indiana University basketball game. 5 NCAA Championships. 53 All-Big 10 selections. The only undefeated champion season in college men's basketball. Royalty.

Gordon ended up scoring 28 points, I experienced the best timeout in college basketball, and didn't have an ounce of vertigo in the balcony of Assembly Hall. In short, the experience made me a lifelong fan.

But with true loyalty comes necessary tragedy. Kelvin Sampson was let go in a recruiting scandal. Potential players fled. My first three years at IU were a hard slog through coaching transitions, dashed recruit hopes, and infuriating losses. But by my senior year, we were on our way up, and the game against #1 ranked Kentucky solidified that Hoosier Basketball was back on top. This story from my alma mater captures some of that electric feeling that fans got back.

This is an emotional, fan-driven episode with fantastic, layered production, solid writing, and great host banter. There’s always a great story in athletics, and #1 Wildcats v. the comeback-kids Hoosiers is certainly one of them. With some more hard information, this episode could fit easily into any long-form sports or human interest programming.

Other than shortcomings in background, the nearly flawless production, great voice work, and clip selection really brought me back. I was immersed in Hoosier hysteria. It took me from an IU School of Journalism classroom to Afghanistan, to the floor of Assembly Hall, to a back corner at Nick's. Robb and Ryan effectively show how a fan's connection to a team is almost transcendent (cue Radiolab effects). Great use of natural sound, nicely scattered fast paced transitions, and thoughtful writing. I would have also liked some hard evidence of the impact that that game had on IU, rather than just anecdotal. The Wat-Shot got an ESPY and a drink named after it. We made it to the Sweet 16! We were 1st ranked this season! Home games are packed now! People wear IU gear to ND v Purdue games! It was certainly a big deal. This production team brings it home emotionally, but I’d like some of the harder stuff to back it up. Overall, a fun listen that most NCAA b-ball fanatics and Hoosier fans would drool over.


Youth EB Picks: In Preparation For Sleep

January 2, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Connor Parker

Imagine having to begin again if you make a mistake. When doing anything, even something as simple as getting ready for bed. "In Preparation For Sleep," by Sarah Lawrence College Radio, spotlights the difficulties of struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in a brilliantly artistic piece that is definitely worth a listen.

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Youth EB Picks: London Teenager Campaigns for Autistic Adults

December 26, 2012 in GPRX Blog by dylan

London Teenager Campaigns for Autistic Adults from Deutsche Welle.

London teenager Bella Tommey‘s vision for autistic people to have the job opportunities they deserve comes from her relationship with her younger brother, Billy, who has autism.  She recognized that autistics had talents and strengths overlooked by most people and she set out to change their perceptions.  Billy’s Café was born. Named after her autistic brother, Billy’s Café is a series of popup cafes where people can meet, mingle and be served by autistic people.

This story had excellent sound quality, great editing and wonderful music to help set the tone.  The only major problem I found with the piece was the ending.  The story cuts out in the middle of what sounded like the last sentence, but all in all I found this to be an interesting and inspiring story that can help teach people more about autism, and maybe even inspire them to do something good for their community like Bella Tommey has done for hers.