Comments by Jenny Asarnow

Comment for "Getting Raised 2"

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Review of Getting Raised 2

I had the same reaction to this story as to the other piece about "getting raised" from Hopi High: It's a good first draft, but it's not finished.

The reader is too far from the mike, and I can hear his jacket and papers rustling. Particularly in a first-person, intimate reflection such as this, those technical problems are a big distraction.

Felix, your voice is heartfelt and I'm interested in your experiences. I think you need to work on your writing and delivery. The story drifts, and your voice rambles. With a careful re-write and a new recording, this could be greatly improved.

Comment for "Getting Raised"

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Review of Getting Raised

This is a good first draft, but it doesn?t sound like a finished piece. The most obvious reason is the production quality. The speaker is waaaay off mike, and so he sounds fuzzy and far away. He also sounds like he is reading off of a piece of paper. I want to feel like he is talking just to me.

As for the content, the writing is honest and heartfelt, but I heard a lot of redundancies. I think a good edit could make this work well. The piece could be about half as long as it is. While the emotions are there, I think the story needs a scene, and more specific, vivid descriptions.

This student is on the right path. He just needs to do some re-writing and practice his voicing and recording technique.

Comment for "What We Wish We Could Tell Our Parents"

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Review of What We Wish We Could Tell Our Parents

This is a great, short vox pop. We've aired it twice, in a program about secrets, and a program about teens and their families.

Short vignettes like this are so useful to me when I am putting together a longer program. It makes my life easier to have my choice of 90 second drop-ins. I hope Curie and other groups will make more like this.

One thing that would make this even stronger is if Curie provided a host intro and outro. Who are these people? Where is Curie high school? What is Curie Youth Radio? If you gave us a 3 sentence intro that would save us some time.

Comment for ""The Thing About Being A Teenage Mother...Is That I'm Young""

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Review of "The Thing About Being A Teenage Mother...Is That I'm Young"

I agree with much of what's been said in previous reviews: This is a story that does two things: It humanizes young mothers, because the voices of the two girls are rich and they sound like they're talking to their friends. Second, it makes the mothers anonymous members of a group, by weaving their voices together without narration.

I think Curie would do stations a BIG favor by providing a host intro and outro to give some information about (and thereby personalize) the two mothers. What are their names? (Or if they wish to be anonymous, explain why). Where do they live? What are their kids names? How old were they when the story was made? What are they doing now? How old are their kids? What are their kids' names?

When we aired this story I was able to find out some of the answers: The mother with the supportive family is named Alca Usan; the other wished to be anonymous at the time the story was made because she was applying to college. Alca's daughter is named Mia Sol. Alca is 19 now (as of Jan 2007), her daughter is 2 1/2. Alca had her daughter the day after school got out in her sophomore year. She's in college now, lives with her grandmother, mother and siblings. Her boyfriend lives downstairs. She wants more kids.

Comment for "Raising Grandchildren"

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Review of Grandmother

The strength of this story (like many other youth radio pieces) is the voice of the narrator. Monique is straightforward and feisty. Even when she?s rattling off statistics she sounds down to earth.

Like the other Youth Voices stories I?ve listened to ?Grandmother? starts off with a personal story (about the reporter?s family) then uses that to illustrate a larger issue, in this case, teenagers living with grandparents.

?Grandmother? does a good job within that structure. The ?experts? in this story add depth and they also talk like regular people.

However, I would rather hear a story that went more into depth on Monique?s family, and used the experts as support, rather than the other way around. I was left wanting to know much more about her, her cousin and grandmother. Why does her cousin live with her grandmother (this is alluded to but not fully explained)? Where are his parents? Why did he get in trouble with the police? What changes did her grandmother make after she found out the cousin thought he had too much freedom?

That said, this is a very strong, polished story that is ready to air as is.

Comment for "The School of Hard Knocks"

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Review of The First Time I Left Home

This is a raw and powerful story, despite some flaws.

What hits me right away is the contrast between KC?s story and her voice. She talks about her extremely difficult life in a very high, sweet, matter-of fact tone. She sounds honest, young, and a little worn down. Some of her comments are surprising for their sarcasm. Of her mom, KC says: ?it didn?t help that she was on crack either.? Still in the same sweet voice.

Unlike Dmae, I didn?t have a problem with the telephone conversations. I think they highlight the distance between KC and her sisters.

The music is what gives this piece it?s ?dream-like? quality, as Dmae puts it. The song compliments the story well; the lyrics tell of life on the streets and a self-destructive cycle. I think it would sound great to end the story with some of those lyrics (only the instrumental part is in there now).

I did have some questions that went unanswered in the story: why was KC in jail? Why didn?t she go into foster care? Where was her dad? Since KUOW aired this as part of a special program we had time to research the answers (She was in jail several times, the last time for a drug offense; she did go to foster care but then her dad took custody; her dad was abusive and KC preferred to go to jail over living with him).

Like other youth radio stories, KC and Blunt would make stations lives easier by providing that information up front.

Comment for "My Private Music"

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Review of My Private Music

This is a very simple piece, and it?s lovely. The writing is clear and lyrical. Giancarlo speaks like he?s recalling his memory to himself.

The music that represents the lullaby is very pretty. My main complaint is I?d rather hear Giancarlo?s mother singing. I?d also like to know if the song is the same lullaby his mother sang. And?what do the lyrics mean? He could come back in over the music with one phrase perhaps, translating.

This short vignette would work well as a drop-in in a longer program, about family, sleep, nightmares, or memories, for example.

Comment for "Finding My Ma"

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Review of Finding My Ma

The strength of this piece is in the voices. We listen to an intimate conversation between Mya and her mom. They don?t sound like they?re talking on the radio. They sound like they?re talking to each other. Mya?s mom has had such a dramatic love life, and we get to eavesdrop as it?s revealed.

I agree with Marjorie Van Halteren?s comments: this story needs more context. KUOW aired this as part of our special program ?Getting Raised? and we were able to take the time to find out answers to some of the questions Marjorie brings up: Mya was 14 when she made this story, her mom is in her 40s, they live in Durham, NC. Mya is 15 now and a sophomore in high school.

Most of the time stations would not have the extra time to find out those answers. Producers should provide it for us. It makes a story much more likely to get aired.

Mya did all the interviewing and editing on this story herself, which is worth mentioning on air since the story has a couple of choppy edits and a bit of mic noise here and there.

The piece would also be stronger if it was about 2 minutes shorter.

This story would work well in any program about mothers and daughters. Mya has an engaging, straightforward style, and I?d like to hear more from her.