This outstanding investigation reveals the troubling financial incentive that’s fueling the placement of hundreds of Native American children in foster care. The practice is a disturbing echo of the past, when the U.S. government routinely pulled Native youth from their families and forced them to attend boarding schools. The stories of adults who return home after being sent away to foster care illuminate the human toll on Indian tribes whose very survival depends on children knowing their relatives and learning their culture. The judges said, “This series epitomizes what radio does best: Get into your head, into your heart, under your skin in a way that other media just can't.” In response to the series, U.S. lawmakers demanded action from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies.
This series uncovers how a justice system that relies on tainted medical evidence and flawed conclusions from the coroner can condemn innocent people in prison for the worst of all possible crimes: the murder of a child. A grim topic explored in depth and without sensationalism, the series found that almost always, accused parents and caregivers are poor people of color, whose families are irreparably destroyed by heinous allegations and wrongful convictions. In addition, NPR found the physician who coined the term “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” who at age 95 admitted he was troubled to see his diagnosis used in murder cases.
In a crowded field of documentary coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Radio Rookies offers a fresh and diverse collection of voices, experiences, and memories from young people who lived through the terror, the profound grief, and the dramatic changes to their ways of life.
The chance to slip into the lives of young people whom the majority of listeners might never have encountered otherwise is so powerful and important. Most impressive was the honest, well-thought-out manner in which each of the six youth reporters in this series told their stories. Some of those stories were heart-breaking: Brenda’s experience as an undocumented 19-year-old fearing her family could be separated; Roy Lee Spearman Jones’ account of leaving home and sleeping behind trash cans because he is gay; and Antonio Gonzalez’s portrait of six children grieving after their mother’s sudden and mysterious death. If what we do is about helping each other understand each other, then this is as good as it gets.
A moving, beautifully produced, sound-rich story about how undocumented students raised in the U.S. are left in limbo when they graduate from high school and want to go to college. The piece uniquely focuses on one student and his music, weaving the sounds of jazz into the tale in a way that a traditional news story couldn’t. Rather than pushing a political point of view, this story simply informs listeners about the struggle that one teen had to go through to try and achieve his dream.
The piece is an extremely balanced, well-documented examination of teacher quality and ways it could be improved. Rather than take one position -- such as the union’s or the administration’s -- the documentary team dives into the deeper issues and explores why teacher quality has become such an important issue and how teachers can learn to improve their classroom performance.
Various media outlets have covered transgender children in recent years, but not with as much deftness and tenderness. The reporters simply allow 8-year-olds Thomasina and Lilly to tell their own stories – absent are the voices of experts – and the intimate, honest approach endears them to the listener. It’s the parents of these young children who explain the heartbreaking cruelty posed by peers, a rejecting father and the ignorance of well-meaning friends. “Tom Girls” tells a story that is quite specific, but can be mapped against the struggles of every parent with a special needs child: Am I helping or hurting with this accommodation?
Beautiful and succinct, this year-long series brings listeners inside one Chicago school’s struggle to keep ninth-graders on track to graduate. The story unfolds like a mystery as Lutton searches for clues, tracks down witnesses and finally uncovers the truth about three students who stopped attending classes at Paul Robeson High. It asks, “How many thousands of students stay out of school simply because no one comes looking for them?”
“Mind the Gap” carefully investigates a host of potential explanations for racial disparities in student achievement. The strong youth perspective lends an authenticity to a subject that could otherwise get locked in a highly academic debate. The project offers a strong jumping-off point for educators and leaders to discuss an issue that plagues communities across the country.
These first person stories personalize the foster care system and the challenges facing the children within. Each reporter is a teen who has been, as they say, ‘in the system.’ The writing, narration and production are emblematic of superb radio journalism. To give voice to these teen reporters is to give voice to the thousands of other kids who find themselves in that very same system: aging out, finding a home, or finding a place in the world.
Entrenched poverty is a complicated, nuanced issue, and some reporting on it tends to be one-dimensional. Not this story. This is an excellent report of one man’s impact on the children involved with the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. The reporter expertly mixes science and storytelling without avoiding thorny issues. It’s no wonder that many who heard or learned of the report wanted to know how they might replicate the program.
This story provides solutions and highlights what works in the foster care system, as opposed to only reporting on what’s broken. The writing is strong and the voices from the subjects are candid.
Addolfo Davis had barely turned 14 when violence and gang involvement landed him in prison for life with no chance of parole. Davis was no angel, but WBEZ’s reporting illustrates how one person can get swept up in a state’s legal system.
Adopting an infant is a common story, while finding a home for teenagers living in foster homes is more difficult to tell. We follow siblings Chris and Amanda as they meet with prospective parents before ending up in a new home. A fascinating portrait of teens in the foster care system, faced with aging out, questions of whether they are adoptable and whether they want to be. A painfully real story of the ups and downs of finding love, family and permanence.
This valuable, balanced story explores the ongoing impact of the No Child Left Behind Act by following two students with poor grades as they become targets for teachers and administrators seeking to comply with the law.
A story touching many aspects of homelessness, including honest facts about homeless kids hustling and selling drugs to survive, and how homeless young people are disproportionately gay.
In this breathtaking report, we hear from children who lost fathers in the war; a powerful reminder that for every war death, an equally high toll is taken on the homefront.
This yearlong project provides a powerful public service, accomplished with depth, breadth and creativity. The series takes a broad look at education but drills into issues and individual stories that relate to policy and practice, covering a spectrum of the community. In addition to the radio presentations, the production team convened community outreach meetings, developed a mentorship program for rookie reporters and launched an interactive Web site – complete with blogs, essays and student artwork. (The above link is to Chicago Public Radio’s 2006 Web site, which has since been redesigned. Please visit the current site.)
A set of excellent, rigorous and beautifully told stories about special education capture the intersection of education, policy and family.
This six-part series about immigrant students learning English in the California public school system is deeply informative, well written and beautifully produced.
The series about the country's 42 million 16- to 25-year-olds is rich and moving – and ultimately, uplifting and hopeful.
This superbly reported and edited series brings listeners into the lives of people living on the edge of economic security and illuminates their daily struggles. The range of stories provides a profound understanding of the issues facing people living at or below the poverty level. And 150 listener e-mails for this local station is nothing to sneeze at -- and since audio segments will be used by local teachers, the series’ impact continues to reverberate within the community
An expertly produced glimpse into the arduous and emotional journey one woman undertakes to adopt a child. Suzanne's intimate and candid narration of her adoption keeps listeners hanging on her every word.
Tough, enterprising report by WNYC on an under-reported problem plaguing many big city school systems: short-changing services for special-ed students.
This story covers all aspects of an immensely complicated and important issue in a very short time. We hear from foster children and foster parents, and about their valiant efforts to overcome bureaucratic inertia. Yet the story doesn't demonize well-intentioned but over-burdened caseworkers, instead placing the responsibility on state decision-makers. What sets this story apart is the way in which it clearly articulates a problem, traces the causes and offers potential solutions.
An in-depth look at the lives of low-income individuals and families, this story -- featuring superb writing -- paints a vivid picture of adults, teenagers and children facing the threat of homelessness.
This inspired report chronicles the life and challenges of a disadvantaged Latino girl who wants to go to college and illustrates the complex social and economic problems facing a large portion of the population.
A deftly told story of a Florida juvenile court that considers research on the emotional needs of very young children in decisions affecting troubled families. Through excerpts of courtroom proceedings rarely made public, the report invites the listener’s interest and empathy without violating family privacy.
Mentored by radio professionals, these teens report on their lives in stories rich in detail and full of interesting characters.
These compelling and comprehensive stories expose New York City’s expensive and informal arrangement to house the city’s homeless in private hotels.
These stories — crisply written and tightly produced — give adults one of the best views of life through a young person’s eyes since Peanuts’ Charlie Brown. Clever, brash and irreverent, the simple truths emerge from the scripts and authentic sounds. From life in the inner city to parent/teen relationships to an extraordinary perspective on the stress of 9/11, these stories stood above the rest. We can only hope that these young people stay in the field. Praise also for the producers who worked with them.
The reporters tackled a well-covered story — the plight of the homeless — but through engaging interviews gave a fresh perspective on a particularly sad trend: the skyrocketing number of homeless women and children. The story shows that even in the midst of life’s worst, it is still possible to struggle for a better life and dignity. The sound is compelling and the dramatic story is held together by smooth writing.
A well-written, well-produced series that examines the plight of grandparents raising grandchildren whose parents are incarcerated. Creative and extensive use of multimedia platforms enhanced the impact of this story.