Comments by Phuong Tseng

Comment for "This I Believe In: First Look"

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Review of This I Believe In: First Look.

This I Believe In: First Look is a poem by Maya McHugh, a producer of WTIP’s Youth Radio Project. Maya eloquently reads and illustrates to her audience about the importance of “moving past first impressions” and the need to be more mindful of some things. Maya tells us about her family trip to Alaska. She sketches many visual images of Alaska. After her trip from Alaska, she transitions to telling us the tragic story about Shaun, their host who killed himself and died. Based on this tragic story, Maya strives to share her experience with her audience about the importance of life. She said, “Life should be a two way mirror” and it is important to not overlook small things. She urges her audience to live life being more mindful and aware of their surroundings. This piece is a very insightful piece since it tells a story that teaches people a lesson. If the producer or poet reads it a bit slower, the producer will be able to get their point across better since stuttering prevents a smooth flow of emotions. All in all, Maya produced an inspiring, thoughtful audio piece that is imaginative and educational.

Rating 3.5 stars

Comment for "Youth Take: Halloween"

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Review : Youth Take: Halloween

Youth Radio Project producer Molly Seitsema decided to interview some kids at school and ask them about what they like about Halloween and their favorite memory of it. Some mention that they like candy, some talk about their costumes and decorations, some think that walking around allows them to get a good exercise. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this interview/ audio piece; I also enjoyed hearing youth voices about what they like and why Halloween is a fun holiday. The background music also adds a layer of joy and excitement to the piece.

Comment for "To My Little Brother"

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Review: Poem to my little brother

This piece is a poem by Cailan Carpenter’s, a sister who wanted to express her care, admiration, and send some messages to her brother. The poem starts off with Cailan’s childhood initial images of her little brother. Then, she tells her audience about how her brother “is getting bullied,” and how much she misses her brother and wishes that she could spend some time with him. She also wishes that she could be near him to support him but she could not since she is far, far away; she expresses sadness in such a calm voice about her brother’s bloody nose and black eye. She ends her poem with some happy messages by sending some love and thoughts to her little brother. Cailan’s piece is quite emotional to listen but very inspiring to hear. The pace of the piece is just so soothing and calm which makes the piece easy to listen to. A sister's love for her little brother is very powerful. Although they are separated by hundreds and hundreds of miles, their love for each other will help them get through their hardships.

Comment for "Should employers have access to employees' Facebook pages?"

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Review: Should employers have access to employees' Facebook pages?

"Should employers have access to employees’ Facebook pages?" This question was explored in this audio piece by WTIP.

This piece collects several interviews and opinions about whether people think it’s right or ethically inappropriate for employers to access a future or current employee’s Facebook page. While missing an introduction of the piece, the story jumps right into an employer’s opinion. An employer thinks that any employer should be able to access their employees’ Facebook page since it provides more information about that employee; the same employer also thinks that job applicants should be careful of what information they share on their Facebook page since “it is a public space” that anyone can access. To counter that argument, an employee thinks that it is inappropriate for an employer to look at an employee’s page since that employer might form biases about the employee based on what they see on their Facebook rather than their job performance. Both sides have valid opinions and points on why they think employer should or should not access employees’ Facebook page.
To make this piece better, I think the producer can provide more context to this interview and explain why they think there is a need to talk about this topic. Also, instead of leaving this interview without an ending to it, the producer should add some insights or let their audience knows what they gained from listening or producing this piece. Overall, it is informative and insightful to hear opinions from both sides about their views.

Comment for "Greet People The Way You Want To Be Greeted"

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Greet People The Way You Want To Be Greeted by Santina McMillan is a very thoughtful and insightful piece. Not only does Santina understands the importance of greeting and its meaning to others, Santina recognizes that people in society want to be greeted with respect. Santina talks about how Santina was affected by a classmate, Hayley, a first grader who greeted Santina in first grade. Santina describes how positive that impact was and decides to pass on this act of kindness. According to Santina, "Power of greeting is not all about getting recognized. It's about building a kind and giving community."

Some things that Santina can do to improve this piece is to read it a bit slower and add a bit more emotion or music to the background to hook the audience's interest. In pacing yourself, you will be able to read it fluently and put a bit more feelings into the piece.

All in all, this wonderful piece reminds us all that we need to greet people with respect and kindness.

Comment for "Queer Youth Valentine"

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Review of Queer Youth's perspective of V-Day!

An intentional but well planned and thoughtful piece about queer youth’s perspective of Valentine’s Day. This vox pop gives some very insightful, humorous, and entertaining answers that makes me, the listener, laugh and interested in hearing more. The music draws me into the podcast and makes this controversial topic humorous rather than tense. If the producer introduced themselves and existed the piece with an outro to complete the piece, it would be a 4-star instead of a 3-star review.

Comment for "Understanding Death"

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Review of Kacey Ward's journey: Understanding Death

Kacey Ward, a Youth Radio’s youth producer, produced Understanding Death because she was curious to discuss with her mom about how her family members’ deaths caused her to be afraid of it. Kacey goes back and forth with her thoughts and her mom’s explanations of why Kacey needed to be protected from attending funerals. Kacey shared her experiences and feelings with her listeners about her great grandmother’s horrible death, and deaths of her 17-year-old cousin, 18-year-old cousin, great grandpa, and grandpa. Because of these deaths, Kacey’s mom thinks that Kacey should be prepared; therefore, she took Kacey to Kacey’s second funeral. Kacey describes her feelings and experiences in great detail when she saw her cousin in his coffin. This piece is very philosophical and difficult to listen to. Yet, the producer manages to narrate this piece in great detail and neutrality. Lastly, adding soft music to this piece would make it more powerful.

Comment for "Slip of the Tongue"

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Embrace your given beauty

Slip of the Tongue is a deconstructive audio piece produced by Adriel Luis. Through spoken word, Adriel addresses issues that many female teenagers and women face in today’s society. Adriel touches on the social construction and internalization of mainstream standards of beauty, resistance and deconstruction of beauty in relation to ethnic identity, society’s perception and perpetuation of masculinity, and social consumption of beauty products. This is an excellent audio piece that deconstructs societal construction of beauty and reminds everyone to embrace their ethnic makeup and roots.

Comment for "Youth on Summer Jobs"

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This is a very short audio piece that asks people about what summer jobs they had and why they chose those jobs. Some did it because they wanted to gain skills and earn money for college while some did it so that they could buy a car. Since it is short, the piece could not go deeper into the reasons why people wanted to get a job to gain skills and more. This piece’s music is quite upbeat and the story is to the point. However, I think it would be great if the producer(s) could interview a more diverse group of people. Something that the producer can do to improve the piece is to make the outro music a bit longer since it ended a bit too sudden.

Comment for "Youth Take: Success"

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A great vox pop piece that brings so many images to my mind. Although the piece lacks intro and outro, the music calmly leads the listener into and out of the audio piece. With so many different perspectives and great insights about the meaning of success, this piece enlighten and give another perspective to the audience’s understanding and interpretation of success. According to an interviewee, success “brings an image of being content with things” that she has and “things that she does.” These interviewers’ insights go beyond a typical answer of the definition of success.

Comment for "Youth health care overview"

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Having access to resources such as health care is very important to many families in Indiana. To understand the struggles that many families are facing, to explore the challenges that these families are dealing with, the producer from Y-Press interviewed some youth and an Adolescence Health Coordinator at the Department of Health in Indiana about access to health care. Many youth like Sam and Chelsea and their families face unemployment and access issues. In order to provide youth with adequate support and resources, Stephanie, an Adolescence Health Coordinator, tells our listeners that we need to provide a comfortable space for youth to be honest about their health needs so that they are not hesitant to ask questions about their health. She also thinks that confidentiality, privacy, and access are important and necessary to youth.

The intro is very informative since it provides statistics and facts about access to health care; therefore, it attracts listeners’ attention by giving them an idea of how many kids in Indiana are lacking health care. The narration smoothly transitions from one interviewee to another but does not distract or confuse its listener. The conclusion or outro of the podcast focuses on youth’s access and privacy, something that is sometimes unheard of or neglected in the health care setting. I really appreciate the information that was shared and the author was able to fully focus on youth’s perspective with a professional physician’s point of view to justify many youth’s stories.

Informative, Didactic, and Profound

Comment for "Future Of Youth"

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Sterling Anderson, a high school senior, has been hearing a lot from his classmates and friends about life after college. It makes him wonder whether “today’s youth will have as good of a life as their parents did.” In “Future of Youth,” Sterling explores this question by asking his peers at school for their opinions. Many of them are concerned that they might not be able to go to college, pay for college, or have a better life after college. Some think that they are overeducated; they are getting degrees that they do not necessarily need; they have job qualifications but cannot obtain a job, so they are struggling. With these opinions and concerns in mind, Sterling finds an alternative point of view to address these concerns. He believes that he will be able to chase his dreams like his parents did and will work hard to be as successful/as good or better than his parents.

This audio piece consists of two sections of vox pop and Sterling’s narration as transitions. He does a fantastic job presenting the topic, providing people’s opinions and concerns to help his audience knows that there are many people who are dealing with this issue, and keeping his audience interested in hearing his perspective about his conclusion. Future of Youth is a wonderful piece that explores youth’s concerns about their future and success; Sterling’s perspective will comfort many youth and motivate them to be as good or better than their parents.

Words: Connected, Enlightened, and Inspired.

Comment for "How We Relax: Teenagers and Stress"

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Review of How We Relax: Teenagers and Stress

Ali Ankeny, a 10th grade City High School student in Tucson, Arizona, is very stressed out about her school assignments, exams, and when she loses things. Ali wants to find ways to reduce stress by interviewing her classmates and friends for some ideas. This piece, How We Relax: Teenagers and Stress, is a vox pop of Ali classmates’ voices and ideas about ways to relieve stress. These ideas include taking naps, eating, laying down while cuddling with their pets, drinking tea, listening to music and so on. Ali shares some of these activities such as working out, doing yoga, and dancing.

I think Ali’s voice draws her audience to listen to her podcast. By providing facts about stress and its impact on teenagers’ brain function, Ali draws her audience into the piece and makes them curious about what her story entails. I also like that Ali asks her friend to play a quick guitar song; that part adds a lot to the mood of the story and allows me to feel very relaxed and stressless.

Descriptive Words: Restful, Comfortable, and Mellow

Comment for "James visits a women's prison"

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Review of James visits a women's prison

This audio piece, James visits a women’s prison, talks about a group of high school students’ field trip to a women’s prison. The beginning grasps my attention because the background music is catchy. The piece starts off with James Alan introducing himself and his field trip to his audience. He tells us that he is not too comfortable going to a women’s prison because he realizes that there will be “crazy” people there. James continues explaining what “crazy” means by telling us that people at the prison take drugs. He is curious about why some people are in prison so he asks a woman about her story; she is in prison because she stabbed and killed her boyfriend. James then concludes the story with his feelings and thoughts about imprisonment; he thinks that people should not be in prison or be there too long.

James did a great job narrating his field trip. He provided a lot of his own reactions and feelings that allowed his audience to get a sense of what he was feeling and going through when he was at the women’s prison. Yet, I think James could provide more information or description about his situation. Although the music matched with the story, I think James could pick a less distracting piece so that it would not be too difficult for his listeners to listen to the actual story. Although this story was intense, James managed it beautifully by telling the story from a neutral standpoint.

Descriptive words:
Tense, Troubled, and Thoughtless

Comment for "Young Immigration Activist Struggles to Balance Courage with Fear"

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Young Immigration Activist Struggles to Balance Courage with Fear is an educational, sincere, and admirable story. As an undocumented student, Macro Perez genuinely tells his story and his dreams of graduating college and living a normal life like every American. This piece fully and accurately captures the challenges and fears of Marco Perez. The narrator, Jasmin Mara Lopez, explores the struggles that Marco Perez has to go through as a high school student in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. The piece begins with Marco openly and honestly tells his listeners that he is an undocumented student and he is unafraid. Marco confronts that he was brought to the United States as a child without formal documents and grew up in Los Angeles as an undocumented student and his undocumented status caused him to feel like an outsider.

As Jasmin narrates, Marco tells his story about his fear of deportation and his activism in high school. He speaks about how he joined the Dreamer’s Club when he was a sophomore in high school and met several undocumented students who he could relate to. The story clearly illustrates Marco’s fear of deportation and his arrest when he participated in civil disobedience to protest against the LA County Sheriff. In doing so, Marco believes that the act of taking actions will allow him to free himself from his fears and give him courage. Although he is afraid that he cannot achieve his goals if he were to be “deported to a country that is unfamiliar and unknown to him,” his story is one of many stories of undocumented youth’s voices because they share these commonalities, undocumented and unafraid.

Some things to notice:
This piece is well produced because the intro is catchy and grabs my attention. The narration that goes throughout the piece leads me into the story and allows me to subtly dive deeper into it. Even though the intro is strong, the outro ends a bit too sudden. In the intro, the producer forget to introduce themselves in the beginning and they forget to end their outro adequately to allow the listeners know that the piece is approaching the end. The piece could have been a bit stronger if the producer could handle the intro and outro better. In addition, the producer demonstrates their audio and editing skills fantastically by adding background recordings to the piece that allow its listeners to easily imagine Marco’s high school friends, protest event, phone call to his lawyer, and Marco’s conversation with his mother in their car.

Comment for "Transgender youth "

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Review of Transgender Youth from Y-Press by Shayan Ahmad

Phuong Tseng

Transgender Youth:

The producer, Shayan Ahmad, who created Transgender Youth became interested in this topic about transgender youth and struggles because of a New York Times article in 2010. This article implied that the year of 2010 might be the year of the transsexual.

Shayan Ahmad further explores this topic by interviewing and learning about the life of two Indianapolis transgender youth. Transgender Youth goes into the life of a 16-year-old youth named Will, his struggle with his biological body, and his process with transitioning. Although Will is not taking any medical measures to support him with his transition, he is transcending his biological body and outer appearance by wearing ambiguous clothing and styling his hair short. Transgender Youth continues to discuss people’s lack of understanding about transgender youth’s struggle with employment and gender pronouns because society could not break away from traditional gender norms and ideologies.


Genuine. Personal. Deconstructive.

Some things to notice:
First, the narrator did a very good job guiding its listeners from one story to another using some very detailed narrations. I think the piece flow very well throughout; yet, I wish the producer would slow down a bit while narrating because I think the pace is a bit too fast and not too consistent with the other pieces.

The lack of music in the background allowed me to stay focused. However, I wish there were at least some music in the beginning and end to help me dive into the audio and give me an idea of when it will start or end.

The introduction grabs my attention by speaking about how hard it is to be a teenager, especially a transgender teen. Throughout the piece, the narrator provides several visual descriptions about what the storyteller is wearing and describes how Will dresses as a gender ambiguous individual and the “gendered” toys such as dolls for girls and trucks for boys.

In addition, the tone of this mood is quite serious since the narration touches on a sensitive and controversial topic; yet, at some point in the audio, some storytellers were trying to be humorous with their stories. I would love to hear more of that. Last, I think the producer could conclude the audio piece by talking about why 2010 is the year of the transsexual. It would give us listeners an idea why the New York Times article suggested it. Overall, this is a very detailed piece considering that it is only a bit over 3 minutes. The introduction and ending as well as the narration were nicely put together by the producer. Transgender Youth successfully reports on some of the basic struggles and issues that transgender youth face in this gender binary society.