Sixteen years ago, NPR aired a special series called "Teenage Diaries," chronicling the lives of five teens -- Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Melissa and Josh -- who carried around tape recorders and documented their daily struggles. The subjects they tackled ranged from teen pregnancy to immigration to addiction.
Now, NPR is looking for a new generation of storytellers for the modern day "Radio Diaries" series on All Things Considered. They also caught up with the original five storytellers, after nearly two decades, to see how things have changed in their lives.
“The lesson I learned from documenting my experience is that in some ways the cold, cruel world is not as cold and cruel as I used to think it was," said one of the now-adult diarists, Josh. As a teen, he frequently spoke about the challenges he faced living with Tourette’s Syndrome. Scroll down to listen to Josh's full interview (as well as the four others) on SoundCloud.
According to a recent study, 83 percent of girls aged 16 to 19 today keep journals. But the new generation of teen "diarists" are also opting to share their stories using different multimedia platforms -- just ask teenagers Emily Cohn and Emma Orlow. The best friends created a web video series called The Do Not Enter Diaries earlier this year, which features homemade videos giving an inside look into teenagers' private spaces.
Cohn and Orlow explained: “We believe that the bedroom is a physical manifestation of a diary."
In some ways, the recent Twitter phenomenon #FollowATeen, sparked by writer David Thorpe, is also based on a new kind of teen diarist -- in this case, social media-based and seemingly unaware of its audience. It began when Thorpe tweeted the very simple instructions, "Find a teen, follow it, and report on its life.” The hashtag, unsurprisingly, has taken on a life of its own, and according to one blogger, "the teens function like exhibits under glass."
What do you think: Has our public fascination with the private lives of teenagers changed since "Teenage Diaries" first aired? Sound off in the comments below or tweet @huffpostteen.
Also on HuffPost:
Loving Yourself Means Loving All Your Identities
Sabrina Lee discusses the challenges of coming out in a traditional Korean family -- and in a school where most of the LGBT population is white. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sabrina-lee/lgbt-comes-in-color-too_b_1882890.html">She writes</a>, "It's sometimes tough being a queer person of color. We're underrepresented and stuff. To be honest, though, I really wouldn't have it any other way. I love my identity. I love all of my identities."
Nothing Can Stand In Your Way If You Don't Let It
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/drew-kirk/growing-up-fragile_b_1671153.html">18-year-old Drew Kirk </a>grew up with a rare disorder that causes his bones to break easily -- in fact, he has broken over 400 in his short life. But still, he's maintained a positive outlook and never let his challenges stand in the way of anything he wanted to do. By focusing on what he has instead of what he lacks, Drew has created a life that he loves.
Don't Be Afraid To Take A Stand On Big Issues
When Shireen Younus witnessed a shooting at her own high school, she didn't sit quietly by. The young blogger took a big stand on gun violence, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shireen-younus/my-brush-with-gun-violenc_b_1855802.html">urging the president</a>, "It is time for you to take a clear stance on gun control in America -- one that will keep students safe in schools."
Rock Your Own Style -- No Matter What Other People Think Of It
Scottish singer and blogger Tallia Storm has a unique personal style, and nothing -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tallia-storm/lady-gaga-is-coming-for-m_b_1729199.html">not even the fashion police!</a> -- can keep her from wearing what she loves.
Nobody's Perfect -- Not Even Celebrities
Two of our favorite stars -- singer Ariana Grande and Secret Life of the American Teenage star Renee Olstead -- might seem perfect on the outside, but they deal with the same issues as any teen. Ariana opened up about her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ariana-grande/post_2809_b_1193895.html">struggles with bullying</a>, while Renee <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/renee-olstead/my-life-before-secret-lif_b_1354695.html">battled an eating disorder</a> during her teen years.
Always Stand Up For Your Family
20-year-old Kristen Wolfe had a big message to send : You should always stick up for your family. And her message was heard by millions of people -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-wolfe/dear-customer-who-stuck-u_b_1190690.html">Kristen's blog post</a> a boy who defending his little brother was shared over 100,000 times on Facebook.
'Pretty' Is Just A Word
Alexis Jane Torre opened up about living with the skin condition vitiligo. After year of trying to be 'pretty,' she realized that she was beautiful as she was -- and that there were more important things in life. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-jane-torre/pretty-is-just-a-word_b_1613598.html">She writes </a>that we should remember "... that 'pretty' is just another word, that there are so many adjectives to describe ourselves with that we shouldn't be so focused on just one."
Demi Lovato Is The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Pop Culture
There are many reasons that Lovatics love Demi Lovato, from her bold style to her infectious pop hits, but her message of self-acceptance has inspired her fans perhaps more than anything else. Blogger Becca Fritz, who became a Demi fan when she was in rehab for an eating disorder, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/becca-fritz/how-i-accidently-became-a_b_1691018.html">writes</a>: "he has not only publically addressed her struggles but also continues to make a point of talking about them in the hopes of helping others who are dealing with the same or similar issues."
Don't Be Afraid To Have Different Beliefs
Overwhelmingly, high school students are a liberal, democratic bunch. Although most of her peers didn't agree with her beliefs, Republican blogger <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abby-weinstein/coming-out-of-the-republi_1_b_1837275.html">Abby Weinstein</a> decided to "come out" and declare her party affiliation. Now, she hangs Romney stickers proudly in her locker.
There Are A LOT Of Things Parents Don't Understand About Teens
Like the fact that not ALL teens are into Justin Bieber and One Direction. Sixteen-year-old Sam Koppelman pointed out <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-koppelman/10-things-parents-just-do_b_1665963.html">10 things that parents just don't understand about teens</a> -- and inspired HuffPost parenting expert Lisa Belkin to write a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/post_3637_b_1666339.html">rebuttal </a>of things that parents really do understand about their teenagers!
You Never Know Who You Might Inspire
When Omnia Saed wrote a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/omnia-saed/why-i-love-michelle-obama_b_1871811.html">blog pos</a>t about how much she loves Michelle Obama, she never expected to reach the first lady herself. But not only did the sincerity of her piece attract the attention of Michelle -- she also got invited to see her rally in Virgina! When <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/omnia-saed/why-i-love-michelle-obama_1_b_1890841.html">Omnia met Michelle backstage</a>, the first lady looked her in the eye and said, "You inspire me."
Reading Is The Most Underrated Key To Success
Teenage venture capitalist Alex Banayan has achieved more success in his young life than many do in a full lifetime. He shared with us 20 of his biggest secrets to success, which include <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-banayan/20-lifechanging-realizati_b_1855057.html">good old-fashioned reading</a>.
You're Defined By What You Do, Not What Happens To You
Suffering from a chronic illness has taught teen blogger Jen Rubino a few things about what's really important in life. She writes in a deeply personal blog post, "If I only focused on what I don't have, I would never be happy.... Simply being alive is such a gift and that's why it is so important to focus on all that you <em>have.</em>"
Hard Work Can Make Your Wildest Dreams Come True
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-boone/heading-to-harvard_b_1503947.html">David Boone</a> once lost his home to gang violence -- and now, he's started his first year at Harvard on a full scholarship. His incredible story proves that hard work and determination can make your biggest dreams become a reality.
You Can Be Your Own Best Date Ever
Singer and anti-bullying activist <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benni-cinkle/my-first-homecoming-and-i_b_1046898.html">Benni Cinkle </a>didn't have a date for homecoming, so she instead spent the evening at home -- and had an amazing time. She learned: "It's OK if you're not asked. It doesn't mean you aren't pretty; and it doesn't mean nobody likes you, or you aren't worthy. It just means that, for some reason, things just didn't work out this time."
Adults Make Mistakes, Too
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zane-j-vanderberg/the-musings-of-a-16yearol_b_1725710.html">16-year-old Zane Vanderberg</a> watched his family fall apart as a result of his father's cheating -- and he vowed to never make the same mistake. He says, "I have made countless promises to myself that I will be a better man than my father, and I have every intention of keeping them."
Kindness Is Everything
On the anniversary of a devastating tornado in her hometown of Joplin, Missouri, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laela-zaidi/joplin-rejoicing-remember_b_1543265.html">16-year-old Laela Zaidi</a> witnessed firsthand the importance of kindness, which slowly helped to rebuild her community.
Your Opinions Are As Important As Adults'
Music blogger <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judah-joseph/review-of-coldplays-mylo-_b_1024537.html">Judah Joseph </a>wrote a dynamite review of Coldplay's <em>Mylo Xyloto</em>, and his expertise didn't go unnoticed. He was quoted as a <em>Huffington Post </em>reporter alongside <em>USA Today</em> and <em>Rolling Stone </em>in a <a href="http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2011/10/coldplays-new-album-mylo-xyloto-getting-mostly-positive-reviews.html">roundup of critical reviews</a>. Way to go, Judah!
Mitt Romney Is Actually A Lot Like A Lobster...
We never would have thought, but blogger Gabriel Frankel actually makes a pretty good case <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabriel-frankel/why-mitt-romney-reminds-m_b_1859297.html">when he argues</a>, "Romney is the type of lobster you'd get at Red Lobster, not the freshly caught ones by the Maine seashore." LOL.
Treating College Like One Giant Party Is NOT A Good Idea
There are a few things NOT to do when you make the transition from high school to college, and partying the night away four nights a week is one of them. Florida State University student <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-binder/things-to-stop-doing-once_b_1916943.html">Shawn Binder reminds us</a>, "You're here to learn something, and I hope you learn something other than numerous sex positions and the fact that you have an intolerance to tequila. You don't need a degree for <em>that</em>."
High School Has Its Own 'Rules Of The Road'
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/luis-ruuska/drivers-ed-for-the-high-s_b_1921086.html?utm_hp_ref=teen">Blogger Luis Ruuska</a> insists that there are unspoken rules for navigating high school hallways. Rule #1? There IS a speed limit.
Never Underestimate The Power Of Twitter
According to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-mott/the-power-of-twitter_1_b_1654969.html">social media enthusiast Patrick Mott</a>, Twitter can be the perfect tool for job-hunting, customer service, money-making, becoming famous and more. In other words, Twitter is never a waste of time. Patrick, we agree.
Finding Your Passion Will Take You Far
Mega sports-fan Jake Fischer took his passion for the game and is already turning it into a lucrative sports journalism career for himself. Jake has written many informative, smart <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jake-fischer/the-worldwide-sports-fand_b_1578086.html">blog posts </a>on the sports world -- and now he's at Northeastern University's school of journalism launching his future career.
Your Generation Will Change The World
Young people fueled global movements like Occupy Wall Street this year, proving that Generation Z can and will change the world. Chase Guttman, a 14-year-old photojournalist, was on the ground at Zucotti Park exploring what he calls <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chase-guttman/my-generations-woodstock_b_1015976.html">"My Generation's Woodstock."</a>