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Youth win journalism award

A team of teenage journalists who shared their experiences of growing up in the hood on a WNYC radio program will be headed to Washington D.C. to meet with the Kennedy family and distinguished professional journalists after winning a 201O RFK Journalism award.

Miguelina Diaz, Keith Tingman, and Amon Frazier of WNYC Radio Rookies, a program created by young people living in the city that gives them the opportunity to share their personal experiences, won the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for best domestic radio program.

Their three in-depth profiles were part of a winning segment produced by WNYC about growing up in poverty called “This is the South Bronx.” The RFK awards are given to media that exemplify and promote human rights.

The three young people will be headed to Washington D.C. to be presented with the award by Ethel Kennedy, the wife of Robert Kennedy.

The awards ceremony will take place at George Washington University on Wednesday, May 26.

Kaari Pitkin, an advisor for Radio Rookies and an associate producer at WNYC, said that since 1999 the program has partnered with teens to tell stories in their own words and in the words of families and friends through the digitally recorded segments.

“We have been producing Radio Rookies for more than 10 years,”Pitkin said.

“We move around the Bronx and the city. We have covered such a huge range in topics that young people are struggling with and interested in. This includes diversity in neighborhoods, teen sexuality, health issues, academic performance, pressure from parents, goals and aspirations, and money.”

For Amon Frazier, one of the radio journalists, his taped segment centered around concerns that he would not be able to graduate from the eighth grade at M.S. 80 at 149 Mosholu Parkway North after the Department of Education ended social promotion at the school.

Frazier was recruited for the project after being chosen by a mentor at a Children’s Aid Society clubhouse at 1515 Southern Boulevard.

“The people at WNYC worked to bring out the best in me, and I am grateful to them,” Frazier said.

Frazier was able to tell his story of turning around his academic progress and graduating from the eighth grade.

Diaz’s segment centered around issues related to her family’s concern about having enough money to meet basic needs.

Tingman’s segment dealt with parents who are incarcerated.

Pitkin said, “We found that during this in-depth process there are a lot of positive changes that take place in a child’s life. This happens by being involved in an intensive extra school program and picking apart a topic to look at things from a more objective perspective, instead of just reacting to life’s circumstances. The young people are developing oral and written communication skills.

Listen to WNYC radio at 93.9 FM or AM 820, or visit them online at wnyc.org.

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