Kaari Pitkin

Senior Producer, Radio Rookies

Kaari Pitkin is the Senior Producer of Radio Rookies, WNYC's Peabody award-winning youth journalism program that teaches high school student to report and produce radio documentaries inspired by their own experiences.

Since assuming the role of Senior Producer in 2006, Pitkin has worked to expand the scope and impact of the program to include multi-media storytelling and training educators how to use youth-produced content in the classroom.  Radio Rookies also continues to work with teenagers across New York City in small workshops designed to teach them how to report stories in their own lives and communities.  The program is known for its highly produced and sound rich portraits of life for teenagers in NYC today and, under Pitkin's leadership, has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism, the National Edward R. Murrow Awards, the Society for Professional Journalists and the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia Awards.  Pitkin is responsible for overseeing the program, including fundraising efforts, new initiatives, and partnerships. 

Before moving to Radio Rookies, Pitkin worked as a producer in WNYC's newsroom for eight years, where she played an integral part of the station's efforts to cover September 11th, 2001.  In advance of the ten year anniversary, she produced an hour-long documentary "Our 9/11" by Radio Rookies whose lives had been changed by the attacks.  Pitkin is passionate about both producing interesting and compelling content, as well as helping the Radio Rookies develop as young people.  She lives in New Haven, CT with her husband and two small children.

Kaari Pitkin appears in the following:

After Chaotic Entry Into the U.S., Syrian Refugee Settles In

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Three generations of Syrian women settle into life in the United States, only after President Trump's first travel ban was blocked in court. 

Comments [4]

Making Decisions When Not Everyone in Your Family Is a Citizen

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Sisters Sonia and Sara Martinez and their friend Yesica Balderrama talk about how they and their immigrant families have felt and reacted to President Trump's immigration policies.

Comments [4]

A Syrian Family Was Headed to Connecticut. Then Friday Came.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A refugee resettlement agency in New Haven was set to find a home for a Syrian grandmother, mother and teen-aged daughter. Now, it's uncertain whether they'll ever make it here.

Comments [2]

One Student's Quest to Avoid Fights at School

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Radio Rookie Cheyenne Nelson thought by choosing a school that focuses on the arts, high school would peaceful. But after seeing several fights, she's learned to keep her head down.

Comments [5]

Gentrification: Feeling Like an Outsider in Your Own Neighborhood

Monday, November 14, 2016

For kids growing up in fast-changing neighborhoods, the change can be destabilizing. Rookie reporter Corinne Bobb-Semple shares what the changes in Bed-Stuy have meant to her.

Comments [22]

Policing in Starrett City

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The patrol officers in the Starrett City housing complex in East New York have built a positive relationship with my community. I wish the NYPD would do the same in every neighborhood.

Comments [1]

Seven Schools Later, One Student's View of Segregation

Friday, November 04, 2016

It’s frustrating that so few students know there are differences between predominantly black and white schools. My older sisters and I know. We lived them. 

Comments [11]

Growing Up Without Parents, Life After Deportation

Thursday, November 03, 2016

“If my parents hadn’t been deported maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today -- so determined and self-driven.” Listen to Wayner's story.

Comments [4]

When Faith Meets Fencing

Monday, August 08, 2016

A little known program in Chelsea is producing Olympians while single handedly diversifying fencing. 


My Sister, The Cop

Friday, May 06, 2016

Jared Marcelle had enough negative interactions with the NYPD that he’d come to mistrust police. His views of policing are complex now, especially since his sister joined the force.

Comments [1]

Seeking an End to Cycles of Abuse

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Destiny Mabry had a lot in common with her older sister: a love of dance, a bright smile, and excellent jump rope skills. They also both had experience with abusive relationships.

Comments [8]

Why Do I Stay?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rainy wanted to understand why she stayed with an older boyfriend who humiliated and physically abused her. So she spent two years reporting from inside the relationship.   

Comments [21]

We Just Don't Talk: One Family's Silence about Dating Abuse

Monday, September 14, 2015

When 18-year-old Radio Rookie Mari Santos recognized that her older sister Alison was in abusive relationship, the hardest part was figuring out how to talk to her about it.


Not the 'Right' Kind of Gay

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In some ways, being feminine made life harder for Dakota than his sexuality.

Comments [10]

Radio Rookies Remembers One of Their Own: Keith Tingman

Friday, April 24, 2015

The radio story Keith Tingman reported when he was just 15 has helped young people with parents in jail. That is part of Keith's legacy, in a life that ended too soon.
Read More

Comments [8]

Remembering Keith Tingman Jr.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It’s with deep sadness I’m writing this post. Radio Rookies has lost a valued member of our community. Former Rookie Reporter Keith Tingman died on February 12. We remember him here.
Read More

Comments [6]

Eyes Off the Goal: When Sports Rule and School Suffers

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fresh grass. Freedom. Success. That was the sensation Edward Munoz experienced every time he walked onto a soccer field. But in school, he felt like he wasn’t meant to be there.

Comments [7]

Tough to the Corps: Teen Girl Wants to Join Marines

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cece Rodriguez may be tiny at 5 ’4”, 100 lbs, but she’s physically strong. Despite her family’s concerns, she dreams of testing her toughness by enlisting in the U.S. Marines.

Comments [2]

Nine People, One Bedroom: A Teen's Take on Life In Poverty

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jairo Gomez's nine-person family lives in a one-bedroom apartment. He knows education is the way out of poverty, but sometimes being poor makes it difficult to make good choices.

Comments [23]

NYC Student Tackles the Last Test Standing Between Her and a High School Diploma

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Danielle Motindabeka has overcome incredible odds to succeed in the United States - she has learned English, made a home here and is trying very hard to graduate high school.

Comments [24]