Teenage Diaries Revisited: Melissa’s Story

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It’s possible there’s an ethical problem with this edition of HowSound. I have such a radio crush on Joe Richman of Radio Diaries that were I working in a newsroom, I’d be taken off this story.

This is the fourth and final edition of HowSound recorded at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2014. I saved the Gold for last. That’s what Joe won for his storyRadio Diaries Revisited: Melissa’s Story.

In 1996, Joe produced Teen Diaries. He gave tape decks to teenagers to document their lives. The result, intimate portraits that, most likely, would have resulted in a very different piece had a producer been present during the field recordings. One of these diaries featured Melissa Rodriguez. It was called Teen Mom. Sixteen years later, Joe handed out recorders again to several of the original diarists, including Melissa.

Even though I was honored to be interviewing Joe about producing diaries and the winning story, the highlight was Melissa Rodriguez, the diarist. She flew out to Third Coast early to be interviewed for HowSound in front of a live audience and stole the show.

Although this is the last live HowSound from Third Coast, I have another live episode in the works. This one will be from an event at New York University where Anna Sale will talk about interviewing. Anna is the host of Death, Sex, and Money, a podcast from WNYC. Keep your ears peeled for that. In the meantime have a listen to Joe and Melissa. And thanks a million to the Third Coast gang for encouraging me to record interviews at the festival.

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