2008 Youth Producers Go International and Political
By Elena, Thao and Diego
Thao—Talking to the People in Power
2008 was the year that politics and radio joined together for outLoud. We interviewed people who we would never had a chance to talk to before, such as Don Collins, the San Francisco Unified School District Commissioner of Athletics, and Mark Sanchez, the president of SFUSD School Board. We got their points of view on the topics that we were investigating for our radio pieces. They were great interviewees and were essential to each of our pieces. Don Collins gave the official word on transgender sports in San Francisco Schools. Mark Sanchez gave his opinion on JROTC and why it should be banned. It was great interviewing people involved with politics so we could not only get the point of view of the normal people, but also the people in power.
Elena—The Fearsome Commissioner
For my radio piece on transgender athletes, I had to interview the San Francisco Unified School District Commissioner of Athletics, Don Collins. Standing over six feet tall, he is a commanding, powerful former lawyer, and he's very intimidating. After working up the courage to even call his secretary (I procrastinated for weeks!), I finally landed a seven a.m. interview, where I met the fearsome Mr. Collins. To my surprise, he was one of the most helpful, insightful and interesting people I'd met in a long time. Of all the people I interviewed, he was the only one who came to the outLoud graduation.
Since then he's gone out of his way to send me information on various sports, media, minority, and merit-based scholarships, and we've had long conversations about high school sports. He’s basically just the coolest guy ever and if it hadn't been for outLoud I wouldn't have overcome my absolute terror when it came to interviewing important people.
Diego—riot grrrl from Washington to Norway
Two of outLoud's spring 2008 stories ended up leading unexpectedly to international interviews. One of the most memorable moments in Elena's "TranSports" piece came after she was redirected by local, state, and national sports institutions up the chain of command, and she ended up trying to call the International Olympic Committee based in Switzerland. Alas, they never did return her calls, and Elena never was able to find the official policy on transgender athletes (we don't really know if one exists), though not because of her lack of determination. My story on riot grrrl, a small musical and political movement based in the Pacific Northwest, led to an interview from Scandinavia. My first interviewee for the piece, Sara Marcus, who spoke to me from New York, referred me to two young women my age she had mentored at a Girls Rock camp. One went to Evergreen State University in Olympia, the birthplace of riot grrrl, while the other one lived in Norway, of all places. I ended up doing a three-way phone interview with them. The conversation didn't make it into my piece because of technical issues, but It was still a good experience to talk to other people who had been affected by riot grrrl years after the fact, and learn that riot grrrl's impact had even spread to Scandinavia.