East Crotona Park 2009
This Bronx Radio Rookies workshop was in partnership with the Next Generation Center, a fantastic multi-service youth drop-in center run by the Children's Aid Society. The Bronx Rookies worked hard for months to tell their stories about poverty in the Bronx, the standards in public schools, the effects of Chernobyl, incarcerated parents, and a rare debilitating disease. Their stories were awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Radio Journalism, a Gracie Award, a National Edward R. Murrow Award were a finalist for an NABJ Award.
Until recently all Victoria (Vikky) Cruz knew was that her mother was sick. Her mother hasn't been able to walk in years, can barely speak and goes into rages, but no one ever told Vikky why. Now, at 17-years-old, Vikky struggles to cope with her mother's illness, a rare gentetic disease called neuroacanthytosis, and the ways it's taken over the mother she once knew.
15-year-old Keith Tingman remembers his tenth birthday better than any other birthday before or since: that was the day he watched his mom get arrested after being falsely accused of stealing someone's wallet.
Rookie Reporter Irina was born in Belarus 6 years after the Chernobyl disaster. Belarus bore the brunt of the radiation fallout and her family moved to the Bronx to escape the contamination. Now, Irina and her family attribute many of their health problems to the radiation.
Last year, the New York City Department of Education raised the standards for passing the 8th grade and ended social promotion--the practice of letting failing students matriculate to keep them with their peers. Radio Rookie AJ Frazier has always just skated by, so this meant he needed to change his ways. AJ reports on how the higher standards impact his work ethic and explores the shady line between getting promoted or being left behind.
With joblessness at a 26 year high, many people across the country are getting a crash course in coping with the stress of not having a steady pay check. Rookie Reporter Erikka Diaz, like many of her neighbors in South Bronx, has lived in poverty her whole life. Her family knows well the anxiety that comes with constantly having to scrape enough money together to pay the rent, buy groceries, and have enough left over for all the things kids want, like going to the prom, or a new pair of sneakers.