By Beth Patel, Assistant Facilitator
Philly Youth Radio Project (PYRP) is officially underway! Our project aims to provide youth with the tools and training to produce their own radio essays, so that youth perspectives can contribute to and broaden the public discourse and mainstream media coverage on issues that most affect youth. This past Saturday, we got together at the Asian Arts Initiative, which is graciously hosting the PYRP workshops.
While a steady sheet of April rain drizzled outside, the four youth radio apprentices and PYRP staff spent four hours getting to know one another, learning about radio terminology, listening to radio essays and getting great tips and feedback from Bruce Schimmel, a veteran radio producer and reporter who, now retired, helps individuals and organizations produce mini-documentaries in the public interest.
We began the day with a fun radio icebreaker, using a digital recorder to interview our peers with the question: what do you see when you look in the mirror? Then, we covered the ethics of journalism and discussed important radio lingo that we will be using throughout the project.
Next, we put our knowledge to the test by listening to radio stories and identifying the sound elements and thesis of each piece. Bruce shared valuable insiders tips on how to draw the listener into the story using imagery coupled with sound.
After we took a break to stretch our legs and snack on animal crackers, we focused on finding specific essay topics, which will all address the theme of school violence and bullying. To stimulate the discussion about the state of schools in Philadelphia, we kicked things off with an exercise to get people up, moving and thinking! Posters were hung up around the room with quotes from the Philadelphia Inquirer, especially from the series Assault on Learning, and statistics about violence in the Philadelphia school district. Everyone got up to circulate, in silence, to write comments and responses to those of their peers concerning the given quote.
Check out all those responses!
After this exercise we explained our comments and shared our thoughts on the topic. We then moved on to a free write session, where the youth got their thoughts on to paper and began to formulate the thesis statements for their radio essays.
At the next workshop, we’ll be learning how to structure a radio essay and hammering out our first, second, and third drafts. Discussion and feedback will abound!
Stay tuned for more updates on the progress on PYRP – after hearing everyone’s pitches for their radio essays at the editorial meeting, we are confident our youth radio apprentices will produce compelling and thought-provoking stories!