Saturday, December 14, 2013

SPOT 127 Teen Reporters Unveil Stories of Deception

Teen reporters from SPOT 127, KJZZ’s youth media center, are using their passion for journalism and digital media to produce an online audio series about tobacco use and addiction called Stories of Deception. Students Taking a New Direction (STAND), Arizona’s anti-smoking youth coalition, recently enlisted the help of the SPOT 127 team to produce the series.

“I hope teenagers hear this message and realize there are better ways to cope with stress and anxiety than by using tobacco products," said BrieAnna Frank, a Maryvale High School junior who has been with the SPOT 127 team since its grand opening in Nov. 2012 and the producer of a public service announcement in the series called Don’t be a Replacement.

“There is no one better to explain the perils of tobacco use to teens, than other teens,” says Courtney Ward, Chief Office of Tobacco Prevention and Cessation for the Arizona Department of Health Services. “We are really pleased with the outcome of this first series with SPOT 127. We plan to take SPOT 127 studios to places outside of metro-Phoenix to recruit other youth that will help us capture many other stories.”

The SPOT 127 team has already completed two public service announcements, which focus on the adverse effects smoking has on a teen’s social life and how tobacco companies view young people as ‘replacement’ smokers for the hundreds who die every year from tobacco-related diseases. They have also completed a feature story that reveals why people living with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke and are more prone to die from smoking.

The segments are available on the STAND web site, STAND is also using Facebook to encourage its many followers, especially Arizona educator, to share these stories with teens.

"I have really enjoyed the opportunity to tell teenagers about the dangers of tobacco use. This message is incredibly important to our generation," said Hannah Smith-Rodgers, a SPOT 127 reporter and senior at the Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics who produced the feature about the additional dangers of smoking for people living with mental health conditions.

“The enthusiasm of our team of journalists is apparent in the work they created,” said SPOT 127 Executive Director, Greg Pereira. “Our studios empower them to be the best story tellers they can be and we are delighted to be a partner with STAND.”

The teen reporters had complete control of the project from concept to completion. They chose the interviewees, the editorial focus and managed all aspects of production from the SPOT 127 studios at 3701 W. Thomas in Phoenix.

SPOT 127 is a division of listener-supported 91.5 KJZZ and a community service of Rio Salado College. This free, after-school program is designed to introduce high school students to digital media journalism and support programs that help them build confidence, attain valuable skill sets and achieve higher learning. Teens interested in joining the team can learn more at or by calling 480-774-8350.

This story can also be found in the December 14 edition of the Tempe Republic.