Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to five teenagers to create audio diaries about their lives. Starting on May 6, All Things Considered will revisit these original diarists, now in their 30s, to document their lives for NPR listeners.
And now the hunt is on for new teen diarists.
We are looking for personal, surprising stories from teenagers today. You can write about anything as long as it's true – like, the first time you fell in love, your most favorite place in the world, the moment you knew you weren't a kid anymore, something compelling about your family.
If you're a teenager who wants a chance to produce a radio diary for NPR, please submit your story to Cowbird through May 31. Two will be picked to produce audio stories with Radio Diaries, and a selection of these stories will be featured on NPR.org next week.
Looking for inspiration before you begin to write? Check out what other teens have submitted so far or listen to the original Teen Diaries. You can also take a look at this Radio Diaries DIY handbook for audio diary help.
Here's how it works:
1) Join Cowbird. It's free!
2) Click "Tell a Story" on the right. Tell your story — but please don't upload material that you don't own, like copyrighted songs, clip art or photographs.
3) Before you publish your story, click the spiral icon that says "Sagas" on the right, then click "Teens."
If chosen to appear on NPR.org, authors under the age of 18 will be contacted for parental/guardian consent.
BILAL QURESHI, BYLINE: Now we're going to take a few minutes to re-introduce you to five people who were part of one of the most memorable series we've ever aired on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. If you were listening 16 years ago, you may remember it. The idea was simple: Give teenagers tape recorders and let them tell their own stories.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hello? Nope, wrong button. There, hello?
JOSH: Let me do the introduction now. Hi, my name is Josh. If you saw me on the street, you wouldn't notice anything different about me.
AMANDA: My name is Amanda, and I guess in a way I've always known that I was bisexual.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: People always used to pick on me all the time, you know, and then one day I decided to play football.
JUAN: I'm Mexican, and I'm here in the U.S. It's, like, kind of amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I didn't think I was going to get pregnant. It just happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: My radio show, thank you.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Josh, Melissa, Juan, Frankie, Amanda, all grown up now, in their 30s, and they're back in a series we're calling "Teenage Diaries Revisited."
JUAN: If you meet me on the street, it's not even going to cross your mind that I'm an illegal resident. I've been here for so long, I'm one of you.
JOSH: Well, I went from being on the front page with football, representing my little, bitty school, to being on the front page as a thief and a meth head.
(SOUNDBITE OF BABY CRYING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: That's you as a baby.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: Do you still think it's a phase?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: Well, we know it's not a phase.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: For everybody who's listening out there, I mean, is your life the same today as it was 16 years ago?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #6: That's a lot of years, a lot of months, a lot of days, that's a lot of issues going through it. But then once you're done with them, 16 years later, you look at it, you're like, where did those 16 years go?
BLOCK: Each day next week we'll hear these voices again in new radio diaries. And today, we're also announcing a search for two new teenage diarists. It's a partnership with the storytelling website Cowbird. If you're a teen, you have a teen or you know a teen, go to npr.org to find out how to submit stories. The deadline to submit is May 31st. Our partner Radio Diaries will pick two teenagers and work with them to produce new stories that will air on our program next year.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BLOCK: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.