Comments by Olivia Cueva

Comment for "The Unabomber is my brother Part 1 Segment 2"

User image

Review of "The Unabomber is My Brother Part 1, Segment 1"

This is the second segment of Max Jungreis’ interview with the Unabomber’s little brother David Kaczynski. In this piece, the listener hears David reflecting on Ted’s social behavior and his inability to connect with others. The magic of the piece appears during David’s retelling of a childhood story, in which Ted builds a second door handle to help his small three-year-old brother open the backyard door. The story paints a thoughtful, helpful, and determined image of Ted Kaczynski and it is moving in the context of Ted’s actions later in life. I think this story could be edited into its own piece.

Comment for "The Unabomber is my brother Part 1 Segment 1"

User image

Review of "The Unabomber is My Brother Part 1"

This is the first part of youth producer Max Jungreis’ interview with David Kaczynski, the younger brother of Ted Kaczynski, more commonly known as the Unabomber. In this piece, David reflects on his childhood feelings and thoughts toward his older brother and provides a quick account of Ted’s life prior to his arrest. He also shares his perception of Ted’s relationship with the world. Though the piece is mostly raw tape, there are few intriguing moments that make it worth a listen. I encourage Jungreis to go back and edit the interview, especially the bits of blank space that appear in between some of David’s story.

Comment for "Half My Family Is Illegal"

User image

Review of "Half of My Family Is Illegal"

Wow. This piece is an incredibly delicate and personal reflection of growing up in the U.S. when more than half of your immediate family is undocumented. I almost did not want to review this piece because I did not want to draw unfriendly attention to the story. The moments shared between Youth producer Alicia Martinez and her family are heartwarming and engaging. The piece flows well from beginning to end and Martinez has an beautiful and inviting voice for radio. Definitely worth listening to.

Comment for "Coming Out in The Age of Lady Gaga"

User image

Review of "Coming Out in The Age of Lady Gaga"

In this piece, youth producer Bebe explores how being gay has become a fad among her female peers, so much so that it’s hard to be taken seriously as someone who is actually gay. At her school in New York, popular girls “play” gay, but it is unclear as to why. She attributes this openness towards gayness to celebrities like Lady Gaga, who advocate and celebrate what has been normally deemed as “weird” or “alternative.” I chose to write about this piece because when I was in middle school, all of my peers policed each other’s sexuality. Being gay was not a good thing and definitely kept a secret. This piece makes me questions whether “playing gay” is new thing or just a continuation of exotifying lesbians for the male gaze.

Listen and think about it.

Comment for "The House on Agua Fria"

User image

Review of "The House on Agua Fria"

Wow. This story is incredible and chilling! Youth producer Brittania Rael recounts a true story about a haunted house that she once lived in as a child. The story is told very well, with each event accompanied by creepy music and ambient sound. If you do not believe in ghosts already, you will after listening to this story! I think it would work well for This American Life or even Radiolab!

Caution: Spoiler Alert
My suggestions for Rael focus on the pacing of the story. I think the piece would have sounded even better if Rael slowed down in the beginning, letting the facts about the house (where it is located, who bought it, and who was living in it) sink in. Slowing down when reading your script also makes it easier to enunciate every word, helping the listener to understand all the details. I think it would also sound better if the piece ended with the discovery that the old man killed animals instead of explaining it and putting it altogether for the listener at the end. Done this way, the piece would be even more chilling and the listener would have room to put the pieces together themselves. All in all, this story is unique and memorable. It’s haunting. I would suggest Rael pitch it to This American Life or Radiolab!

Comment for "Skin Deep Vox Pop"

User image

Review of "Skin Deep Vox Pop"

Last week I reviewed Chelsea Alston’s piece “That Twenty Percent”, and when I found this one, I knew it deserved a review as well. Here, Alston provides a very fun and celebratory exploration into feelings about having brown skin. It is refreshing to hear her interviewees celebrating and loving their blackness, especially since the news about Treyvon Martin (and all of the young black and brown men shot before him simply because they looked “suspicious”) only further establishes that we live in an extremely white supremacist society. I commend Alston as well for not shying away from her exploration and including an alternative answer among the celebratory ones. I love this piece. I can’t wait to see what Alston has for us next!

Comment for "Teens and Illegal Guns: Access"

User image

Review of "Teens and Illegal Guns: Access"

Y-Press’s segment on teens with guns is both informative and long overdue. Of the 4 segments recently posted, Andy Yang’s segment on access to guns is my favorite. In this piece, Yang interviews youth incarcerated at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana about how easy it is to get ahold of guns. This script is well written, and Yang uses great interview clips and ambient sound. As the reporter and narrator, Yang does a great job of communicating his personal unfamiliarity with correctional facilities and street violence, while not furthering the demonization and marginalization of the young men he interviews. In clearer terms, he sets up the piece so that the listener can hear these stories as the the stories of young men, not criminals. He provides an informative piece that does not demonize, exotify, or other his interviewees. That is a skill.

Comment for "That Twenty Percent"

User image

Review of "That Twenty Percent"

I love this! In response to the marginalization and stigmatization of single teen mothers, Alston provides a refreshing perspective into the lives of teen parents who are working together to raise their children. In the piece, she interviews one pair of young parents about their experience and what they have learned in the process. The couple share some of their day-to-day struggles, but Alston also manages to capture a moment flirtation between them as well. Her use of music flows nicely, making the piece sound like an intro to a new series about teen couples and parenting (I would be excited to see this happen!). Alston asks great questions and could even dig deeper - I am interested in knowing if they receive any support from their parents, how they provide for themselves financially, and why they initially thought raising a child would be easy? This piece is definitely worth listening to. It left me with a smile.

Comment for "How To Make A Beat"

User image

Review of "How To Make A Beat"

This piece is a hidden treasure. Its provides a “how-to” on beat making in a very clever, yet humble way. I love it because it’s simple, fun, and provides a very engaging listening experience. And the beat is good - I would even say it slaps a little bit. I am definitely a fan.

Comment for "Obsession"

User image

Review of "Obsession"

Even though this piece was produced several years ago, the story told is both intriguing and timeless. In this piece, Catalina Puente shares a very raw experience about lusting after someone that she barely knows. It is such a personal and delicate story that you almost feel as if you are reading from her diary. As someone who has had her fair share of crushes (and does not like to remember the behavior that goes with them), I admire Puente for her ability to reflect on such a confusing experience and to share this story with us.

This is a story that definitely resonates! It not only sheds lights on our contemporary relationship with pop culture, but it also shows how love can transcend gender and sex. I would love to hear this story as a part of a series that showcases queer youth of color.

Comment for "La Oportunidad"

User image

Review of La Oportunidad

This piece resonates with me a lot, not only because it is beautifully recorded and edited, but because my father had a similar experience immigrating to the United States from a small village in the Peruvian Andes. He too was invited to study abroad, his opportunity coming from two American anthropologists. These experiences involve uprooting, family separation, and brave individuals whose stories are important to the American narrative. According to Maria Isabel, whose voice we hear throughout the piece, this experience changed her life for the better. For me, this story also brings up realities of white supremacy and privilege, colonialism and patriarchy.

Victoria Campos did an incredible job recording and editing this piece so that it really moves the listener. The music was a great touch and helped the piece flow smoothly. I could definitely imagine it being a part of the new series “The Hidden World of Girls” hosted by Tina Fey. I would love to hear a longer version of the story that spoke about Maria Isabel’s life in the United States.

Comment for "Bullying in a Community"

User image

Review of Bullying in a Community

From the first few seconds of this piece, you feel as if you are actually surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Traverse Square: the community housing development in Middletown, Connecticut where 10-year-old Alexis Madera and Destiny Chandler live, learn, and play. The two young reporters tell us the positive and negative aspects of growing up in this community through interviews with family, friends, and neighbors. The piece is both moving and insightful because the girls expose their personal experience with being bullied while seeming to understand why bullies act the way they do.

Though the piece is short, I felt the arrangement of the story was a bit out of order. I think it would have worked better to include the interviews about violence in the community and how it has improved closer to the beginning of the piece, leaving all of the bullying content for the second half. Producers Maddie Neufeld, Harry Bartle, and Jake Schofeld captured strong interviews and ambient sound that enhanced the story's flow. It's a story definitely worth hearing.