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Radio Diaries – Teenage Diaries Revisited

June 22, 2013

In 1996, Joe Richman gave tape recorders and microphones to a diverse group of teenagers and asked them to talk about and record moments in their life for Radio Diaries. He kept in touch with some teenagers and lost touch with others. When Melissa, whose 1996 diary included the birth of her son, contacted him sixteen years later, he was inspired to produce Teenage Diaries Revisited. He gives five of the people who recorded diaries in 1996 (Amanda, Frankie, Josh, Juan, and Melissa) the opportunity to revisit their teenage diaries and update their story.

Teenage Diaries Revisited aired on All Things Considered during one week in May. Radio Diaries has been making a Teenage Diaries Revisited podcast episode available every few weeks since then. I’ve been listening to the podcast versions, but I’ve listened to a few of the All Things Considered versions. I’d recommend the podcasts to anyone who isn’t familiar with the original radio diaries from 1996, since they include the 1996 radio diary before the current diary. The shorter versions are great if you’ve listened to all of the diaries from the 1990’s and can’t wait to hear what happened in the past 16 years.

When I listened to the diaries, I was impressed by how much of their lives they were willing to share before they clicked the tape recorder off and how they took care to record different aspects of their lives. If you’re curious about how Teenage Diaries was created and produced, I highly recommend the How Sounds episode, “Josh: Growing Up With Tourette’s” which was released on May 8, 2013. The episode gives a behind the scenes look at Josh’s diary and gave me an appreciation for the amount of work that went into the recording and production of these diaries.

If you’re interested in recording your own radio diary, check out the Radio Diaries Teen Reporter Handbook for technical, storytelling, and interviewing tips and (if you’re a teenager) the call for new teenage diaries from NPR and Radio Diaries. Transom.org and How Sound are also amazing resources for those interested in producing stories for radio or podcasts or listeners interested in learning more about how the magic happens.

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