The 2010 Radio Rookies Queens broadcast workshop was in partnership with the Flushing YMCA. The Queens Rookies reported stories about everything from gangs in schools, to what it’s like to have your dad deployed in Afghanistan, to being an online girl gamer. These stories received two PRNDI Awards, two NABJ Awards, a NY State Broadcasters Association Award, the United Nations Department of Public Information gold award, a New York Festivals International Radio Award, a NY State AP Broadcasters Association Award and a Gabriel Award.
About the neighborhood:
Flushing, Queens is considered the center of all things Asian, according to most of the Rookies in this workshop. There may be Korea town on 32nd street and Chinatown in downtown Manhattan, but once you step out of the last stop on the 7 train, you land on Main Street—home to multiple Asian ethnicities from Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese, to Chinese and Filipino. There are also people from European, Hispanic and African American descent residing in this multicultural neighborhood. With a population of over two million in Queens, half of whom are foreign born, Flushing helps Queens earn notoriety for being the most diverse borough in New York City.
What the Rookies have to say:
“I think that Radio Rookies is a great avenue for kids to express themselves and talk about issues that affect them and other teens. I think that Flushing is a great place to hang out and the cultures that live here are all diverse. It’s like living in Manhattan without the expensive prices.” — Melissa Best
“Flushing is a very calm, nice neighborhood. There’s never really any problems and it’s a really cool neighborhood to be in. I think Radio Rookies is a very interesting program and it’s nice to learn everything that is being taught.” — Edwin Llanos
“Flushing is awesome. I enjoy everything about it. I love Radio Rookies. I get to work with my passion, which is audio and with people and producers that are amazing and want the best for you.” —Rayon Wright
18 year old Caribbean American, Rayon Wright, who was born in Jamaica, West Indies and raised in Brooklyn. Though Rayon grew up surrounded with Jamaican culture and music, he wants more than anything to become a producer of Korean music and entertainment. A lot of non-Asian teenagers like Hello Kitty or Japanese Anime, but Rayon's love for Asian culture goes far beyond that.
18–year–old Melissa Best has very high expectations for herself and so do her parents, but her friends wouldn’t describe her as a hard worker. She’s always dreamed of becoming a US diplomat — living abroad and helping people, but then she found out how much work it is to become one. Melissa doesn’t want to give up on her plan but she’s not sure she can really live up to her high–achiever persona.
Video Games! Millions of people play some form of them - from Farmville on Facebook to more complex games on consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, and the most popular, Wii. Industry experts say forty percent of all game players are female, players of hardcore games like Grand Theft Auto are mostly male. That means the games are designed with boys and men in mind -- and 17-year-old Radio Rookie Jessica Cernadas finds that very frustrating.
Most New Yorkers know that over the past half century, Flushing Queens has transformed from a mostly white suburb to one of the largest Asian populated areas in the United States. But in recent years, another transformation has been taking place – a new wave of immigrants from Mainland China is crowding Main Street, while the old wave – mostly from Taiwan, is watching the changes with some reticence. Radio Rookie Helen Peng has been trying to figure out where, exactly, she fits into the changing landscape.
17-year-old Radio Rookie Edwin Llanos has grown up in neighborhoods where police officers stop and search kids all the time -- and a lot of those kids don’t trust cops to help when they're in need. Last year, when Edwin got into a tough situation, he wasn't sure who to turn to.
Just when you think the vampire craze might have run its course, a new book hits the stores or another TV show launches. Next week the latest Twilight movie opens nationwide, HBO's True Blood just started its third season, and fans of the undead keep wanting more. Rookie Reporter Hawa Lee reports on the sometimes spooky connection between vampires and teenagers.
Radio Rookie Alexis Gordon's dad has been in the Army Reserves since before she was born. He served a tour in Iraq when she was in the 5th grade and was recently deployed again to the war in Afghanistan. 18-year-old Alexis is struggling to understand her dad's decision to stay in the Army and go back to the Middle East.
About two thirds of New Yorkers are from immigrant families. And when parents - who came here from other countries - raise American children, they face all kinds of choices about which cultural norms to follow. That's the case in Radio Rookie Andrea Lee Torres' family. Her parents came here from the Philippines in the 1990s. And she's not sure she agrees with at least one decision they made - not to teach her their language.