Comments by Eilis O'Neill

Comment for "Hopeless in High School"

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Review of Hopeless in High School

This incredibly moving piece contains all the elements of excellent radio--a strong script, good sound quality, emotional yet natural voicing, and, of course, an engaging, thought-provoking story. I was captured by the producer's words, engaged by her honesty, and given a completely new angle on the experience of dropping out of high school. Editing for smooth voicing and perhaps adding music for variation could enrich this piece.

Comment for "Teen Coverage of the World Can't Wait Protest"

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Review of Teen Coverage of the World Can't Wait Protest

This piece represents an impressive and diverse collage of the people attending "The World Can't Wait" protest. The passion and energy present at such gatherings as well as the eloquence of the protesters were both readily apparent throughout the story--energy and eloquence surfaced by the producer's thoughtful and well-phrased questions. The listener occasionally has difficulty hearing the interviewees over the sound of the protest; watching and editing for this could improve the piece.

Comment for "Teen Poetry"

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Review of Teen Poetry

The passion of the young poet featured in this piece struck me immediately. Both her voice and her words carried an intensity both rare and refreshing. The rhythm and honesty of her poetry and her responses to the producer's questions made this piece remarkable. In addition, the questions asked of her added background and depth to the original, thought-provoking poem. For improvement, I would suggest editing and revoicing the questions and commentary. This piece belongs on any show regarding the struggles, either past or present, of Latinos in the United States; as the poet tells the listener, "This is your history; this is who you are."

Comment for "21-year-old Katrina survivor signing up for U.S. Army"

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Review of 21-year-old Katrina survivor signing up for U.S. Army

This heart-wrenching piece personalizes all of the coverage of Hurricane Katrina that mainstream media has produced since the disaster. The introduction, with its skillful use of music and its vividly specific script, captures the listener's attention immediately. The intensely visual nature of the entire story, with all of its details and nuances, represents the greatest strength of an excellent piece. Some variation of sound within the piece, either through music or voicing, would enhance the overall quality. Still, this story deserves a place in any show covering Katrina's aftermath.

Comment for "Fashion Obsession"

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Review of Fashion Obsession

This piece offers a completely new perspective on fashion concerns. For me, the most fascinating parts of the story have to do with the question of why. Why does fashion consume so much of the producer?s time and energy? Why do people choose to spend so much on their clothing and appearance? Personal anecdotes about the producer and her mother add depth to the story. With some additional editing for conciseness and specificity, this piece would be excellent.

Comment for "Gay Marriage In Texas: Talking About Proposition 2"

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Review of Gay Marriage In Texas: Talking About Proposition 2

I was impressed by this relatively personal approach to a very complex, divisive issue as well as by the eloquence of the producer and her interviewees. With excellent use of sound and flawless transitions in between the various components of her piece, the producer holds the listener?s attention throughout the story. Finally, her use of bias and her justification thereof add honesty and richness to an already notable piece.

Comment for "Leaving the Mountains"

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Review of Leaving the Mountains

As someone excited to head off to college, this well-written essay offers a new perspective on what it means to leave home. The essay, though already powerful, would be enhanced by slightly slower voicing, and perhaps the addition of other voices offering their perspectives. Smoothing the slightly abrupt ending would also improve the piece.

Comment for "The Kids Who Got Out - My Graduation Day"

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Review of The Kids Who Got Out - My Graduation Day

This piece, relevant to a number of current issues, including the new exit examinations and the issues surrounding immigration, makes excellent use of both sound and music. The producer skillfully weaves narration, pieces of interviews, and sound clips from her graduation and surrounding events into one coherent, moving story. The personal anecdotes which illustrate the enormity of the producer?s accomplishment make the story both engaging and powerful.

Comment for "Is It Just Me?"

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Review of Is It Just Me?

Eloquent and insightful, this solid piece represents a view of skateboarders that most people don't get--the view that skateboarders have of themselves. The repetition of "Is it just me?" sets this piece up nicely; revising the questions, however, so this is not repeated more than two or three times might serve as an even more powerful opening. These questions are echoed perfectly with the quotes from other skaters; without answering the question with his own words, the producer tells us, "No, it isn't just me." I was also impressed by the skillful use of music, which was present without distracting the listener from the words.

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

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Review of What We Wish We Could Tell Our Parents

I liked both the idea behind this piece, jumping from one confession to another, as well as the diversity of voices featured and ideas expressed. This diversity of comments holds the listener's attention up until the final speaker's words, the surprise and strength of which make the voxpop almost poignant. The transitions between speakers, however, are not always smooth; some narration could add fluidity and depth to some great actualities.

Comment for "Here I Am, Saying Thanks To My Mom"

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Review of Here I Am, Saying Thanks To My Mom

It's hard to tell a story that happened years ago without sounding trite, and even harder to make it as powerful as this piece was. The producer of "Here I Am, Saying Thanks to My Mom," impressed me through his use of sound--the sound of a curtain being pulled back, the sound of a baby crying--as well as his own voice. Combined, these made his story incredibly moving. With a strong script and a good balance between using sound effectively and distracting the listener, this piece could air on or off Mother's Day. Although in some ways this piece represents a personal "thank you," perhaps including the parents' voices would add to an already excellent story.

Comment for "Kid V. Cop"

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Review of Kid V. Cop

What struck me most about this piece was the brilliant use of sound--the sounds of the crowd at the beginning that immediately set the scene, the use of music that complemented the discussion taking place, and the sound, which seemed to echo that used at the beginning, that closed the story gracefully. This skillful execution enhanced a topic--the friction between youth and police that sometimes erupts into violence--already rich in emotion. Addressing this topic by interviewing a police officer created an excellent balance between informational and emotional content. Although the piece flows fairly well, using narration instead of the actual interview questions might make the story move even more smoothly.

Comment for "Southwest Side Stories: Dodging Violence"

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Review of Southwest Side Stories: Dodging Violence

A penetrating piece, "Dodging Violence" cuts to the core of what it means to have to live in fear. With eerie music that matches perfectly the dark tone of the story, the piece allows the listener to truly envision the producer's neighborhood. In addition, the well-written narrative is read in such a way that it captivates the listener. In such a short piece, the continuous narration works well, as a number of different voices would destroy the story's flow. This piece would add to any show covering the topic of youth violence.

Comment for "Mind Your Metal"

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Review of Mind Your Metal

For someone like me with my many preconceived notions about the violence of heavy metal music, this piece represents well the perspectives of both the artists who create and the listeners who love this music; the story presents a very positive, convincing argument for the genre. Particularly creative is the montage of voices that opens the piece. The use of heavy metal for transition music also adds to the depth and flow of the piece. For the most part, the narration works well, although it could be improved by editing the script to make it more succinct and by reading more smoothly. Overall, however, the piece leaves even the most skeptical listener with a better sense of the motivation behind creating and listening to this genre.

Comment for "My Confirmation"

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Review of My Confirmation

This highly personal, engaging piece regarding Catholic confirmation provides a very dynamic and compelling story. Particularly powerful was the way in which the producer at first presented a number of different confirmation stories and then narrowed to not only her own experience with confirmation, but to her own faith. Because of the personal nature of the piece, the narration works well, and the exploratory interviews and recorded prayers add variety. Suitable music (i.e. hymns) could provide an even more dynamic piece. This very emotionally engaging story could add to any show regarding faith or religious ceremonies.

Comment for "El Americano Dream"

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Review of El Americano Dream

"El Americano Dream," immediately catching the listener's attention with its bilingual, almost mocking title, attempts to convey the story of migrant farm workers in America. Having read in my Spanish class this year the novella Cajas de Cart?n, which tells the story of a Latin-American migrant worker family, I could immediately place this piece in context. Narrated by a bilingual youth who conducted some of his interviews in English and some in Spanish, the piece includes elements of tragedy, commentary, and critique as well as narration. The cuts in Spanish, however, could be translated in order to clarify them for listeners who only speak English. In addition, smoother narration would add to the flow and power of the piece. Finally, although the music adds to the beginning of the piece, it should be faded later on.

Comment for "Marissa's Grandma"

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Review of Marissa's Grandma

Everyone has (or had) grandparents, and Marissa makes hers come alive for me. With elements of the familiar--a grandmother who loves to tell stories--and the unique--a grandmother who speaks seven languages--she allows the listener to truly envision what it would be like for a teenage girl whose grandmother lives in her house. Marissa tells her own story seamlessly, starting with when she was small and ending with her imagining what it might be like when she herself is older. The fluidity of the piece is further enhanced by the skillful use of ideal transition music; without lyrics, the music seems to transcend the barrier between generations, as do Marissa and her grandmother.

Comment for "By Faith and Not by Sight"

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Review of By Faith and Not by Sight

This incredibly moving piece, infused with emotion because of the highly personal topic and the openness of the producer, definitely warrants a place on the air. The mix of narration, conversation, music, and sound from the funeral itself creates a very dynamic piece, both in content and in audio. For improvement, I would suggest smoothing the transitions or making sure the whole piece is in chronological order; although bringing the listener to the funeral itself, then giving some background information, and then returning to the funeral has the potential to be very effective, the result was slightly confusing.

Comment for "Dressy Girls"

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Review of Dressy Girls

Everyone, at some point, has had to play a balancing game between what they want to wear and how they want to be seen, between comfort and style, and between personal preferences and societal pressures. The girls interviewed in this piece wear revealing clothing for one of two primary reasons--because they like the attention from guys or because they feel more self-confident when they think they look pretty. The similarities the producer surfaces between the girls' opinions about clothes and the ideas presented in the magazine Seventeen provide a very fascinating, almost disturbing insight into the perpetuation of more revealing styles. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of these girls' clothes with the producer's own attire provides conflict which moves the piece forward. To improve this piece, the producer could add transition music and either separate the beginning actualities, or, because the idea of overlapping them is unique and effective, reduce the level on one of the girls.

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"

After all the public service announcements and sex ed warnings that I have listened to in the past couple of years regarding the serious consequences of teen pregnancy, this piece provides a very nonjudgmental view of the topic--a matter-of-fact examination of the effects that motherhood had on two different high school students. The piece allows the listener to draw his or her own conclusions based on the stories presented. In addition to making the piece nonjudgmental, the producers' decision to eliminate unnecessary narration smoothes the flow of the piece. By moving back and forth between the two mothers' voices and thus juxtaposing their experiences, this method draws connections between the girls as much as it illustrates their differences and also allows the girls themselves to create the scenes for the listener. The final effect of the lack of narration is an added universality; instead of telling the story of two specific, completely described young women, the piece offered a less distinct description and, so doing, in some ways conveys the story of many teen mothers. In order to perfect the piece, the producers could shorten some of the music segments, which, although relevant, are quite lengthy and thus detract from the flow and overall effect.

Comment for "Counseling"

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Review of Counseling

Kamilla’s opening line, “A couple of months ago, my life sucked,” through its very simplicity, immediately captured my attention, which was held throughout the piece by the well-balanced combination of personal anecdotes and concrete information, presented by the various contributors in a down-to-earth style. The melding of actualities and voicing utilized in the closing of the piece demonstrates Kamilla’s skill working with levels and using sound to emphasize her point. Unfortunately, her exaggerated inflections interrupt the natural flow of the well-structured story. Although her final lines did give me a sense of conclusion, a more compelling ending which offered a broader question or statement regarding the social stigmas surrounding counseling would have left me thinking for longer. Overall, Kamilla’s excellent analytical writing offers both personal connections as well as broader ideas, and this piece merits review in any discussion of mental health issues.

Comment for "Teen Perspectives on God"

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Review of Teen Perspectives on God

Almost everyone has an opinion on God, whether or not they believe there is one, and the creator of this piece successfully captures a number of very thoughtful, interesting perspectives from teenagers of various religions. An important piece in a culture full of negative images of teens, it still needs some editing before broadcasting. Although the narration successfully introduces and groups quotes, it does not add to the depth of the piece, which might work better as simply a montage of voices. (In fact, the first couple minutes, which contained no narration, were for me the most powerful ones.) In addition, the sound quality of this piece needs improvement; various mike sounds and poorly mixed music detract from the overall effect. Still, the fascinating quotes showing a variety of views on who God is and his or her role in our lives deserve airtime and I’d love to see this piece edited, remixed, and ready to air.

Comment for "Long Distance Relationships: An Interview" (deleted)

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Review of Long Distance Relationships: An Interview (deleted)

For anyone who has struggled through a long distance relationship, this piece contains a very immediate and personal connection. Furthering the listener’s connection with the piece is the story that Craig tells about his girlfriend, a personal variation of the universal theme of a loved one leaving. Although the piece functions well without music, Craig could mix in part of a well-known love song between his story and interview in order to emphasize the universality of this theme. Despite this strong beginning, the rest of the piece—Craig’s interview with his high school counselor—serves only to surface many of the beliefs held by adults regarding long-distance high school relationships. In addition, his frequent use of the word “like” breaks the flow of the conversation. Craig’s commentary on the interview, however, successfully concludes the piece and leaves the listener satisfied, if not challenged.

Comment for "Our Name is Rogelio Bautista"

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Review of Our Name is Rogelio Bautista

This incredibly moving piece left me ready to cry, reminding me of how little time we truly have to make our lives worthwhile and meaningful. Captivating and thoughtful, the narration begins by painting a picture of Rogelio’s early life—including anecdotes to which any listener can identify—and discussing his increasing involvement in gang life. The daring narrative technique of representing Rogelio with five different voices creates an effect which, if less skillfully executed, could have appeared trite or confused the listener, but is ultimately very effective and moving. Through this unique use of narrative, the addition of relevant music (although the placement of the music does, at times, break the flow of the narration), and a very compelling and original script, the story successfully addresses the complexity of issues surrounding gangs and their role in individual members’ lives, as well as death and its effect on loved ones. This thoughtful narration merits inclusion in any show that deals with inner city problems or violence, particularly youth or gang violence. Rather than offering any answers, the piece leaves the listener struggling with the questions that arise over the course of the narrative.