These Pittsburgh teen media creators are getting their voices heard — and being celebrated for it

Photo above courtesy of SLB Radio.

Pittsburgh is home to a growing community of teen media creators — young people who use film, podcasts, music, photography and more to express their thoughts and tackle the issues that matter to them. These local teen creators have a lot to celebrate this week:

At SLB Radio‘s new Youth Media Center, more than two dozen teen creators and their families gathered on Monday night to listen to the social justice documentaries, podcasts and commentaries they created during the past spring and summer.

“Students have worked incredibly hard to select topics, story angles, and interviewees and we’re excited to celebrate their work,” said SLB executive director Larry Berger.

“As they developed their stories, students interviewed nearly 40 community leaders to learn about issues first-hand. As a result, student producers not only learned more about the issues they wanted to shed light on, but also gained skills in community engagement and first-hand research. The 26 participating teens represent 13 different schools and earned $10,500 in stipends. We’re grateful to The Heinz Endowments for its support of this project and its longstanding support of youth journalism at SLB.”

Pittsburgh teen media creators
SLB held an open house on Aug. 21 to share the work of more than two dozen teens. Photo courtesy of SLB Radio.

In a series of Youth Social Justice Documentary podcasts, SLB’s teen media creators explored everything from challenges faced by working parents and gentrification’s effect on local culture to cultural appropriation in “fast fashion” and inequality in education. Click here to listen to these and many more episodes.

Also this week, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) announced the winners of their 2023 Teen Media Awards. CLP tells us that more than 100 young writers, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers and inventors in Allegheny County competed for the 2023 Ralph Munn Creative Writing awards, which include prose and poetry, and for the 2023 Labsy Awards.

Check out an anthology of Munn award winning writing here.

Winners included this powerful short film titled “Two Stems” by Alex Riccobon, a senior at PA Virtual Charter School, which earned second place behind a film called “College Bound,” by Thomas Wang & Kiran Tevar, both freshman at Shady Side Academy. Check out “Two Stems”:


Another winner was this song, titled “Outsider’s View” by Everest Gray, a junior at Quaker Valley High School, which earned a first place award:

Explore more award-winning work right here. First place winners in each category received $250 and second place winners received $100. The Munn awards are open to all students who live or attend school in Allegheny County in grades 9-12 and Labsys are open to students in grades 6-12.