PRX at Ten / Where Are They Now: Kiera Feldman, Rockstar Journalist

November 21, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

This post is part of PRX at Ten's Where Are They Now series about former PRX staff. Cross posted from the PRX blog

Back when Generation PRX started YouthCast in 2006 — a podcast to showcase the best in youth-produced radio — we decided to look for a smart host who could reach both youth and adult audiences. Kiera Feldman – who began in youth radio at KBOO and was a Brown University junior at the time – basically blew the lid off what we asked for and elevated the job to art form. Funny, talented and whip-insightful, we knew Kiera was destined for greatness. Now a freelance reporter for the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund, we asked Kiera to share what she's been up to since the good ol' YouthCast days.

From Kiera:

Kiera Feldman, former YouthCast host, current rockstar reporter


I often find myself returning to something I read in a Transom essay some years back. "Radio is my first love," wrote Gwen Macsai, "and like a first love, no matter how far you stray and no matter how badly it ended, your heart still skips a beat when it walks through the door."

Back when I hosted PRX's alt.NPR YouthCast podcast (2007-2008), I thought of myself first and foremost as a Radio Person. I'd be making annual pilgrimages to public radio conferences 'til I died, I thought. But these days, my shotgun mic is stashed away beneath my bed, still a treasured possession but more of a relic from another time. (It's an AT835b, because I know you want to know.)

To recap: after graduating college in 2008, I moved to Brooklyn because it was a thing people did. I found a new extracurricular: producing segments for a progressive radio collective on WBAI called Beyond the Pale, and I've stuck with it ever since. (That first year, I also worked on PBS documentaries and as a fill-in producer at WNYC.) I was the only 20-something in the lefty radio collective, which meant I'd get goaded into doing all the stories that involved young people and going into the belly of the beast. I was a Radio Person working with print people on a volunteer-run show, and gradually I became a print person, too. It started with doing magazine versions of radio stories, like this n+1 story about Jews for Jesus.

The thing was, in the radio world, there just wasn't much opportunity to do longform narrative storytelling of the muckraking variety–which I discovered was what really made me tick. But that's a thing you can do in magazines, and I'm deeply indebted to radio: my ear for dialogue, being able to pull off the print version of the perfect tape-to-tape transition, being able to do interviews where you get people to recount events so that you can reconstruct it as a scene later (the Ira Glass "and then what did you say? And then what did she say? And what was going through your mind?" approach), and on and on.

Lots of my stuff is on my website, but here are some highlights:

+ The story I'm most proud of: "Grace in Broken Arrow," about child sex abuse cover-up at an Oklahoma megachurch. (Over at the Nieman Foundation, I laid out some of my thoughts and working theories about trauma reporting, investigative narrative, and the tremendous honor and responsibility of being entrusted with vulnerable people's stories.)
+ "The Romance of Birthright Israel" in The Nation. The story was funded by the awesome and amazing Investigative Fund, which is supporting a few of my current projects (thus making it possible to be a freelance investigative reporter).
+ The last radio story I did–a dispatch from the Birthright trenches–and it is pretty funny, I must say.
+ "Living the American Dream in the West Bank" for VICE: about New Yorkers who become West Bank settlers ("the long white flight," I called it in a follow-up story).


Wall Street Woes by Lauren Silverman of Youth Radio

October 19, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

It used to be that entering the financial sector—be it as a banker, a stock broker, maybe a hedge fund manager! Whatever they do!—was a normal, vanilla job possibility for young people. It was on the same generic shortlist as doctor, lawyer, movie star, or astronaut. But ever since the recession began at the end of 2008, spurred on by the shady dealings of people working at the highest levels of finance, those job titles have become loaded words.

Lauren Silverman used to think that Wall Street was her path. And let’s just say that when the bank bailouts happened, her dream crashed, deflated, and possibly bottomed-out, to borrow a few familiar metaphors. But guess what? Lauren found another career that has worked out for her: public radio! She now works as a producer for Weekend All Things Considered. Stay tuned after her commentary, because we talked on the phone about just how you get in the door in Washington DC and why its never too late to go back to radio.

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And finally, waaah! This is the last episode that I will be hosting for YouthCast. It's been a lot of fun, meeting producers around the country over the phone and by email, listening to hours and hours of youth produced radio that, in my opinion, can far surpass the work of professionals in its honesty and originality. So I want to shout out all the young producers who make this work mostly on their own time and all the mentors who I know put a lot of their own time into these projects as well.

YouthCast will only be taking a brief a hiatus though, before your new party host, Emily Corwin, takes over on November 2nd. If you want to keep track of my antics, follow me on Twitter. Shh! It's my personal account, @mollyelena.

Dumpster Diving by Rebecca Barker of the Alaska Teen Media Institute

February 9, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Slightly safer and cleaner dumpster diving for books in NYC.

There’s so many recession stories out there of how people are saving money and hustling to make ends meet. So what’s the most extreme thing you’ve heard of people doing? Well, for me, it’s dumpster diving.

Get to know Connor the dumpster diver. He looks for food, clothes, and pretty much anything else people throw away that is still useful.

But it’s not just a piece about “Hey, check out this wacky guy and the wacky things he does.” Reporter Rebecca Barker of the Alaska Teen Media Institute finds out why climbing into a dumpster, while thrifty and pretty rock n’ roll, is culturally taboo, sometimes illegal, and definitely unclean.

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Now, you don't have to get slimy and dirty to have fun and maybe pick up some free goodies. The Internet will lead you toward free and cheap things to do and consume in, and let us know of things going on in your area!

Intro and outro music is Never ending story by Scappare di Casa / CC BY-NC 3.0
Photo CC Licensed by Special KRB on Flickr.

Generation M by Min Qiao and Michelle Hu of Y-Press

September 8, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

How many screens have you ever gotten going at once? For the Young People of Today, three is not uncommon. Min Qiao and Michelle Hu filed a report with Y-Press as part of a series on teens and the media. We all know that young people use more media than other generations, but what does this mean for this generation outside of electronics? And just so you know, this information overload is not necessarily a good thing. There, that should make the older people reading this blog happy.
Not a Millenial? Not sure? Why not take the quiz, How Millenial Are You?, by the Pew Research Center! You'll see that being part of Generation M doesn't just have to do with whether or not you leave your cell phone turned on and right by your head while you sleep. This Generation of 18-29 year olds are also more politically and socially engaged and more affluent and educated than any previous generation.

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Songs in this episode are from The Rain Book by Digi G'Alessio / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0