Radio Rookies is a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

Since 1999, Radio Rookies has been conducting workshops across New York, in predominantly under-resourced neighborhoods, training young people to use words and sounds to tell true stories. Upon completion, the Rookies' documentaries air on WNYC - usually during Morning Edition (5am to 9am weekdays on WNYC 93.9 FM and online at wnyc.org)
Recent Tweets @RadioRookies
Who I Follow

As a former Radio Rookie I am more in touch with how I feel about myself and the goals I want to attain. My Radio Rookies story was about the aftermath of 9/11 on my family, where my father, a firefighter was injured.  While I was reporting my story, I had an incredibly busy summer and was always on the run. At the moment, I have recently finished my masters degree and am looking for a job. This puts me in the situation of having plenty of time of my hands and I find that as the years have past I have made it a goal to really be present in my everyday life. Especially now that I am not extra busy it is important for me to make each day count, to be productive, and land that job I worked so hard for in my masters.

In the age of sustained cellphone contact and even busier lives, feeling overloaded is almost a constant and being present can fell unimportant. Feeling out of time is a symptom of 2013, but it does not have to be one of 2014 if we engage with our daily lives!  This is my resolution for my New Years that I feel that many people can also connect to.  So, here are my tips for 2014:

1. More facetime less Facebook time. Speak to the people around you. If you have an errand, question, ect. for someone, give them a call not a message. Or spend sometime talking to someone you have not spoken to in a while.

2. React. Reply to that email. Call that person. Messages sat in your inbox just cause stress. Stop putting things to the side because we have so many things that can distract us.

3. Start making to-don’t lists. We all know what we have to do, but sometimes being conscious of what we should avoid is really positive. For example, a to don’t list can sounds something like:

1. Don’t go on Facebook until I have talked to my mom at dinner.

2. Don’t watch Hulu (Netflix, HBO ect.) until I have all my cleaning done.

4. Get involved with a charity. Be aware that you have the power to make changes in someone else’s life. Charity’s give back to you and makes you feel as if you did something with your time. That is not something Hulu makes you feel (unless you just watched The Lord of the Rings.  Kidding!  Sort of…).

5. De-clutter. Do you really need all of those purchases in your life? Think about why you want something, and don’t make any more ‘popularity purchases.’ There are things in your life that you need/want/love and there are things you want to show off, be conscious of that line.

Hope these tips help to inspire you with your own New Years resolutions. Cheers to a more present 2014! 

If you want to listen to Erin Reeg’s Radio Rookies story, click here. image


Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, and your actions be louder than your words.

As Thanksgiving comes along we want to take a moment to give thanks for all the opportunities we have working and producing at Radio Rookies. 

We are thankful to our listeners and contributors who support our Rookies and their unique stories that they tell.

Above all we are thankful to our Rookies who take part in such great stories and share with us their own perspective.

We are thankful for everyone behind the scenes at WNYC Radio and Radio Rookies who work so hard to publish each story with the highest journalistic rigor.

We are thankful to be able to give young people the opportunity to have their voices heard. To be able to give teens the space to express themselves and their opinions freely.

We are thankful to be able to teach new skills to teens and give them confidence on working on their own voice. 

At Radio Rookies we are thankful for having the opportunity to prioritize teens and listen to what really effects them.

Dear Mayo de Blasio: Messages From NYC Teens

"I’ve only been stopped once. Now I can’t even look at a cop without feeling nervous."

Student from the West Brooklyn Community School shares his ideas for restoring trust and improving police-community relations in NYC.

"I think cops should stop racial profiling."

Dear Mayor de Blasio: Messages From NYC Teens

Student from City As School shares her ideas for restoring trust and improving police-community relations in NYC.

Students from MS 8 share their ideas for restoring trust and improving police-community relations in NYC.

Students from MS 8 share their ideas for restoring trust and improving police-community relations in NYC.

Check out the first in our series: “Dear Mayor de Blasio" — messages to the Mayor-elect from teenagers about their ideas for restoring trust and improving police-community relations in NYC. 

Listen to Nyrell and Kayla’s advice for the incoming Mayor. They attend the Franklin K. Lane High School in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. 


With the changing tides of the mayors in NYC the educational system in the city is under inspection. This week on twitter, Radio Rookies focused on education in NYC and country wide, exploring which education reforms could make positive changes. Even First Lady Michelle Obama weighted in on the subject this week making the point that the USA used to have the highest percentage rates of college graduates in the world but is now ranked 12th. (View the video). She spoke about changed to education and how the goal is to bring the US back to first place by 2020. According to this CBS article, the height of college graduates in the US was in the 1980’s. The US has fallen behind to countries such as Norway, Ireland, Israel, The Russian Federation, and Korea with Canada in first place in the 25-34 year old age bracket according to College Board.  

The United States hopes to regain its #1 rank by 2020. For this to happen, our government has put into motion numerous new policies to make positive changes in education. But what are they and will they work? 

Something we encourage at Radio Rookies is Connected Learning, the idea that learning does not happen completely in the classroom, and continuing to learn in after school or weekend programs is incredibly successful to getting kids interested, creative and engaged. 

The Huffington Post this week posted an article talking about how longer school days are coming to a few more states. The idea of having longer school days creates a space for children to learn subjects that are outside of the written curriculum. It has been successful in many schools so far and is expanding to more schools in the states.

In many cases, they’ll be using the extra 300 hours a year for things there isn’t enough time for during a regular school day, such as trying out personalized learning technologies and studying world cultures, healthy living, foreign languages, fitness and healthy living, and even scrapbooking. By SUSAN HAIGH 

Schools are adding about 300 hours a year to try to “personalize” learning in these extra hours. Overall, the schools where longer days have been in place has seen an improvement in grades and test scores. Choice becomes a factor in having an overall positive result; when kids have the opportunity to choose a subject that they are interested in, they will do better overall. 

Adding hours to the school day is an excellent way to create a space for connected learning. There are also many other ways to offer connected learning, such as weekend programs or organizations that are not directly school related. This connected learning video from DML Research Hub describes how connected learning is becoming increasingly important in our changing world. 

Connected learning video from DML Research Hub

In the end, these ideas are great, but what is the future of education for NYC under the mayorship of Bill DeBlasio. He has some really great ideas, and even some ways to increase connected learning. 

So will education in NYC benefit from these methods under the mayorship of Bill DeBlasio? He has indicated that he will implement some ways to increase connected learning. 

Offer After-School Programs for All Middle School Students

Over the last several years in New York City, after-school programs have been dramatically cut from 87,000 slots in 2008, to roughly 20,000 slots for FY 2014. Bill de Blasio has called for a large-scale expansion of after-school programs for all middle school students by taxing New York’s wealthiest residents. The extended learning time in after-school programs helps our students make positive gains in their academic performance, benefit from diverse programs that enrich learning, improve communication skills with adults, decrease behavioral problems, and it offers young people alternatives to trouble on the streets.

This is just one part of his policy that can engage our youth better. You can see his whole policy and other educational changes on his website.

On a national level, for Michelle Obama to reach her goals of increasing college graduation rates by 2020, alternate approaches to education that are geared towards this rapidly changing world are necessary. Efforts thus far on the parts of various states indicate that it’s possible.

Let us know what other theories of learning have proven to be successful. 

Do you have stories about what could work and what’s not working in schools? 

Have you seen connected learning working in schools?

Are there other school programs that work? Are there any school programs that really don’t work.