The six Radio Rookies reported stories on everything from surviving Facebook drama to life in the foster care system to coming out as gay in the age of Lady Gaga.
For the 2011 Staten Island broadcast workshop we partnered with the Seamen's Society for Children and Families in St. George, the neighborhood closest to the Ferry Terminal. These stories were awarded the Casey Medal, a New York State AP Award, a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, an Adobe Aspire Award and an Alfred I. duPont Finalist award.
Half of Radio Rookie Alicia Martinez's family members are U.S. citizens, the other half are not. Her parents and older sister came to the U.S. illegally before she was born. Alicia knows – from her sister – how hard it is to grow up in the U.S. without legal papers, but she also finds it stressful to be the lucky one: the daughter with all the opportunities. As one of three U.S. citizens in her family, Alicia has struggled to meet her parents' expectations and overcome the guilt she feels that her hardworking sister’s life is so limited.
Like most teenagers, Brianna loves spending time on Facebook and, most of all, she loves the drama that is constantly unfolding on her friends' and enemies' Facebook pages. But, unlike like a lot of teens, Brianna's mom puts a lot of energy into helping her navigate some of the trickier and more painful aspects of coming age in the era of social media.
What does it mean for young people to come out in the age of Lady Gaga? Bebe tells her uncle that she's bisexual, but as a gay man who struggled with harassment and bullying through his whole childhood, he suspects Bebe is just trying to be cool and doesn't understand the weight of her words.
Over the years Tim has fought, sometimes physically, with his family and struggled to become who he wants to be. He's been diagnosed with everything from ADD, ADHD, PTSD, depression, to bipolar disorder. But he doesn't think any of those labels fit him. In fact, Tim's not sure he's mentally ill at all. And if he is, he's not sure he wants to know about it.
"Nothing's ever permanent in foster care" is how Rookie Reporter Michael Jacobson describes his life in the system. Just when he thinks things are settling down, he gets yet another case worker or must move to a new home. In fact, Michael has lived in seven different homes in just four years. Teenagers are the most difficult foster kids to place in homes, and Michael's story gives listeners a chance to hear first-hand why that's the case.
A lot of teenagers want to make it big as artists--whether acting in movies, singing ballads on American Idol, or making it in the hip hop world. That's what Radio Rookie Jimmy Musa dreams of -- and he thinks he's found a way to get an edge over everyone else.