DIY Radio Rookies Toolkit

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If you’re a teenager interested in reporting your own stories or an educator looking for some tools for your students to learn about journalism, you’ve come to the right place!  We hope that you’ll be able to use these elements to create your own amazing stories and, when you do, please share them with us!  (

The DIY Radio Rookies Toolkit

1)   COMIC BOOK - The Making of a Radio Rookies Story: From Day One to Air

This online comic follows Radio Rookie Keith Harris from the first moment he picks up a microphone to the morning his story aired on WNYC.  Keith reported his documentary about how he learned to read and write while in high school.  Embedded throughout his stories are links to tip sheets and animated shorts that will deepen your understanding of the Radio Rookies production process.

2)   VIDEOS – Animated Shorts

Here are four animated videos to spark creativity and lay out some important instruction about reporting, selecting story ideas, wrestling with difficult topics, and structuring a scene. 

  • How to Do Vox PopRadio Rookie graduates Veralyn Williams and Vikky Cruz take the audience through a step-by-step guide to interviewing strangers, including: how to introduce oneself, the art of follow-up questions, and the importance of listening closely.   This DIY short has become a central element in Radio Rookies’ interview workshop, which gives participants the chance to experience the process of creating a story in a short period of time.  Additional tips for educators can be found here.
  • How to Report Your Own Story – Rookie Alexis Gordon lays out some parameters for thinking about what makes a good story, such as thinking of issues on which a participant might have a unique or surprising perspective, or a topic or side of a story that is often under-reported or ignored. This video is intended to get youth generating ideas, deepening their thinking, and choosing what they want to report on. Additional tips for educators can be found here.      

  • How to Report on an Issue – This short gives tips for asking difficult questions and how to approach a story with a unique perspective or angle. It aims to help the youth reporter infuse his or her own sensibility into the story. Radio Rookies hopes that the video encourages students to create work with an original and distinctly youth point of view.  
  • How to Make a Scene – This video takes one scene within Keith Harris’s story radio documentary about learning to read and write in high school and deconstructs the elements – script, ambience, interview clips – to show the audience the fundamentals of producing a scene.


Over the past 15 years of teaching radio production skills to teenagers, we’ve developed a series of tip sheets and resources for the Radio Rookies. Here are some of them:

The DIY Radio Rookies Toolkit was supported by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust and Mozilla.