We realized that there are already reporters on the ground, embedded inside middle schools: The kids who report the daily announcements, sometimes on video with full newscast sets. Producer Jonathan Menjivar wondered what would happen if instead of announcing sports scores and the daily cafeteria menu, the kids reported what's really on their minds.
Producer Sarah Koenig reports on a kid we'll call Leo, whose family moved away from Rochester, NY, leaving behind all of Leo's friends andstranding him in a new — and in his opinion, much worse — middle school.
Ira speaks with Shannon Grande, a teacher at Rise Academy in Newark, about a seventh grader who had all sorts of problems with behavior and hygiene and schoolwork. In order to help turn him around, Grande had to harness the power of peer pressure for good.
Host Ira Glass walks through a Kansas City Missouri amusement park called Worlds of Funwith Cole Lindbergh, who had a season pass to the park as a little kid,starting working there summers at 14, and then just stayed. Now he's afull-time, year-round employee, running the games department.
Jonathan Goldstein returns to Wildwood, New Jersey, where he spent one not-fateful summer when he was sixteen. Jonathan's the host of the podcast Heavyweight.
Ira tells what happened this week to Dan Curry in Odessa Texas on Wednesday, to eight-year-old Ruby Melman on Sunday in New Jersey, to Beau O'Reilly at a bike store in Chicago on Saturday, to Theodosha Alexander at the World Trade Center site on Thursday, to Dr. Wade Gordon in Afghanistan on Thursday, to a high school class at the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, and at a bar in New York City on Saturday.
Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge AmandaWilliams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Waynecounties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on herparents' checking account when she's 17, one for $40 and one for $60, andends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behindbars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of itin Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation.
Host Ira Glass remembers one of his favorite jobs, as a temp typist working at night in New York City. And we hear from a group of teenagers who create unique fun during the middle of the night when none of their classmates are awake.
There's a town in Florida where if you shoplift, and get caught, a judge will send you back to the scene of your crime to stand in front of the store, with a large sign that reads "I stole from this store." Ira and producer Lisa Pollak talk to one such teenager who was caught stealing from a convenience store, the supervisor overseeing her punishment, and the judge who sends her there.
When Molly Antopol was in 7th grade she learned what abortion was—and it sounded to her like murder. Her mom, a pro-choice activist made it her mission to change her daughter's mind.
Most media stories set in shopping malls don't really tell you much about what it feels like for the people who work in a big retail operation, or for the people who hang out at the mall. Because the mall's more than just sales.
Host Ira Glass talks with a high school senior about the lies she tells her mom, and if she'll ever reveal the truth.
Host Ira Glass talks with Kayla Hernandez, a seventh-grader who likes to reminisce about when she was a child, back in fifth grade. She visits Room 211 in her school, where her fifth grade class met, and looks at her old books, thinks about what happened there.
Alex Blumberg sets out to find a woman named Susan Jordan, who babysat him and his sister for a year when he was nine. He discovers that each of them remembered something about the other that the other would just as soon forget.
A mortgage broker named David Philp discovers that his old punk band from the 1970s is hot in Japan. He decides to leave corporate life and revisit his teenage years by going back on tour, playing music for the first time in two decades.
Host Ira Glass talks with contributor Adam Davidson about how Adam's teenage diaries are filled with his dream of someday becoming the prime minister of a country where he does not even reside.
Writer Rosie Schaap tells the story of how she ingratiated herself into the adult society of the Metroliner commuter train bar car as a teenager. She would cast Tarot card prophesies for riders, in exchange for beer.
Ira talks to the teen editors of Sex, Etc., a national magazine for teenagers, about the mistakes parents make when talking—or not talking—to their kids about sex. Then, the story of what happened when one anonymous mother learned that her daughter was having sex. All the names in this essay have been changed, and it's read on the air by producer Julie Snyder.
David Iserson tried to lay low in junior high, staying out of sight to keep from getting teased and bullied. But then he starred in a local TV commercial for his father's furniture store, and all of a sudden everyone knew about him...in a bad way.
Ira talks to seventh-graders about the things they covet most.
Alex Blumberg tells the story of an audacious act of rebranding done by a group of people who aren't normally thought of as very audacious: public librarians. In Michigan, they've started staging rock concerts in libraries.
Writer Alexa Junge tells about the time when she was thirteen and she decided to have a "grown-up" conversation with her beloved grandmother.
Host Ira Glass talks to Laura Mayer, editor of the New Trier Township High School yearbook, about the renegade student who jumps into as many club photos as he can. And contributing editor Jack Hitt explains how this impulse—to be remembered as someone you're not—can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin.
Reporter Anya Bourg tells the story of Carl King's first case, where he's able to accomplish what experienced detectives and lawyers were not. He proves that his friend was innocent.