Category Archives: Youth Radio: Youth Stories

An online tool that helps solve a problem relevant to young people dealing with the economic crisis.

Parting thoughts

Signs of the times

Signs of the times

Over the past 10 months, has featured some of the most poignant, informative and visual stories about communities coping in the ongoing crisis.

These stories are what make public media stand out – the voices featured from around the country and the innovative ideas that have inspired news stories.

It’s been so exciting to learn how the economy has changed over the past year – at times the stories have been hopeful and uplifting, often they’ve been upsetting and grim, but never boring.

Here’s a quick review of a few stories that continue to be relevant:

Book Club (4/12/2010) and Book Keeping (3/11/2010) Funny names of old financial texts, and a Paul Solman list of the best books on the financial crisis.

One Sixth of What? (9/22/2009) Back in September, before the health care reform legislation was passed, we examined what makes up the health care costs.

Trading Up (2/24/2010) looked at bartering’s comeback – from help with school projects to borrowing a rake from your next door neighbor.

Shifting Gears (4/2010): Tens of thousands of people work building vehicles in the U.S. And while Ford and GM are reporting that their books look better, many people are still riding the waves of the the hard transition in this industrial sector. That’s why Shifting Gears, a public radio special, will have relevance for some time to come. The latest EconomyBeat podcast features highlights from the program.

Pictures of Transition: One of the most popular aspects of the blog this past year was the weekly collection of user-generated images about the state of the economy. These powerful, witty and painful pictures illustrate the compelling drama of the recession that communities and individuals continue to navigate.

I can’t write about EconomyStory without including stories that came directly from readers, listeners and viewers in the form of comments, six-word memoirs and responses on Facebook and Twitter.

A comment from reader Carlos Tobin about bank size, one of many active discussions on Facebook:

Limiting the size of banks could hurt a innovative start up bank that wants to form and take out the banks that caused the problem. Legislation will just entrench the existing players, and stifle innovation.

And the Six-Word Memoir Project with SMITH Magazine, which collected creative tales of economic hardship. The most recent ones, posted on the SMITH site include:

Whitney Cole: Goodbye, economy. Hello, credit card debt.
Charles: Exchanged credit cards for library card
Kali: Buying a camper, not a house!

EconomyStory will continue to serve as a jumping off point for exploring all that public media has to offer. Projects like Patchwork Nation and Youth Radio aren’t going away, so the links on this site will still take you to the best coverage of the economy. However, as the EconomyStory collaboration comes to an end, this blog will no longer be updated. You can still follow the great work that the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) does at and you can follow my work on Twitter @laurahertzfeld. Thank you for all your support and input! And a big thank you to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for making this possible.

Follow the (tax) money

Now that you’ve paid your taxes, where is all that money going?

KQED’s YouDecide tool lets you answer a poll about whether your money is being well spent, and shares data about where the money really goes.

It turns out that in three major categories – defense, health care and education – we direct more of our budget than the average member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

So far, 55% of respondents have said that tax dollars aren’t being spent well by the federal government. Add your voice at YouDecide.

YouthRadio’s Making Cents series tackles taxes and gets young people sharing what comes to mind when they hear those letters: I.R.S.

And to lighten up Tax Day a bit, Nightly Business Report has a piece on the pressures of filing taxes. Watch tax experts go head-to-balance sheet in: Iron Accountant.

California crunch

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that California is in a major crunch these days, and not the granola kind. The budget crisis has gotten so bad that in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has threatened to shut down the entire city government for two days a week to save money.

KPCC’s Air Talk had the mayor on to address threats facing the city’s Department of Water and Power from ratings agencies, and options to keep the city afloat beyond a partial shut down.

Villaraigosa told KPCC’s David Lazarus:

It’s not something that I want to do. But it’s something we need to look at and discuss. … Clearly we don’t’ have a lot of options where we know that we don’t have the cash to pay employees. We are liable to them when we ask them to work, knowing we don’t thave the cash to pay them.

In the comments section of the KPCC page, concerned LA residents left pressing questions about other budget issues hitting City Hall, like early retirement payments for city employees and furloughs for municipal departments outside of the general budget.

LA school budgets are also being cut. That’s drawing some Hollywood names to make the issue a hit online, like in this Funny or Die video with Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, who visited Wonderland Avenue Elementary School in LA to get their point across about overcrowding and budget cuts:

It’s not just LA that’s affected. Earlier this month, protests against budget cuts for schools were held in northern California. Youth Radio reporters caught up with protesters in Berkeley.

Waving signs that read “No Cuts” and “Defend Public Education,” the crowd of around 150 people included elementary school student Eliza Fosket Hyde, 7, who made a homemade sign “We want money for pableck shools.”

The Austin scene

Even if you can’t make it to Austin for the big South by Southwest conference this week, there’s plenty going on online, including new (and free!) music, great ideas in social media and other ways to boost your business without spending a lot of cash, and innovative technologies to keep up with the kids these days. Here is some of what the public media crew is planning for the week:

EconomyStory will be hosting a panel on Saturday called Covering Big News on Small Budgets – something we think we know a little bit about by now! The panel recording will be made available online following the event.

To give a sense of what we’ll be talking about, check out this slideshow showing how public media covered some of the biggest events of the past year:

Former NPR producer’s Davar Ardalan previews SXSW Interactive in Austin with notes on speakers and activities:

PBS will be broadcasting live video interviews and updates from Austin, so you can keep up with all the panels online and on Twitter @PBS.

Austin NPR station KUT (Twitter @KUTAustin) has a comprehensive roundup of events and ideas. KLRU’s Austin City Limits is taping its first episode of the new season during the festival, with Cheap Trick in the studio on March 18. For more on music, NPR’s All Songs Considered previews the bands to watch over the next week.

You can follow all the Austin happenings on Twitter, too. All of the public media attendees will be adding their posts under the search: #pubsxsw. A list of SXSW speakers is here and I’ll be tweeting from @economystory and @laurahertzfeld. Yeehaw!

Day of action for education

Students and education advocates in California took to the streets today to protest budget cuts to public school programs. Youth Radio’s correspondents were following the story and collecting perspectives.

Asked what she thinks California will look like in ten years given what’s happening in public education today, 21-one-year-old Taylor Kohles said, “We need to change our priorities and fully fund education. If that doesn’t happen, it will create an education gap.”

Twenty-year-old UC Berkeley student Eddie Rivero said he has friends who will have to drop out of school because they’re undocumented immigrants who can’t get financial aid and are paying part of their tuition with scholarships. He said they won’t be able to cover costs as tuition rises.

For more on the protests, check out Youth Radio’s Twitter list of Day of Action participants.