Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WUNC's American Graduate Project is part of a nationwide public media conversation about the dropout crisis. We'll explore the issue through news reports, call-in programs and a forum produced with UNC-TV. Also as a part of this project we've partnered with the Durham Nativity School and YO: Durham to found the WUNC Youth Radio Club. These reports are part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these generous funders: Project Funders:GlaxoSmithKlineThe Goodnight Educational FoundationJoseph M. Bryan Foundation State FarmThe Grable FoundationFarrington FoundationMore education stories from WUNC

[VIDEO] Teens Remix The News In Projects In North Carolina And Beyond

Pierce Freelon (left) and Apple Juice Kid with students from the community
Beat Making Lab

In an after-school project called "Re-Mixing the News" a group of middle and high school students from Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, take WUNC news reports and add inspiration: beats, sound effects, and music. They create a fresh, new take on traditional journalism in the Beat Making Lab.

In February 2013, the students listened this story by reporter Jeff Tiberii about the passing of civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain:

Listen to Jeff Tiberii on Franklin McCain.

The six students then worked with beatmakers and educators Pierce Freelon, Stephen Levitin (aka Apple Juice Kid), and Ryan Levin to take Jeff's original story and add their own soundtrack.  Here's the result:

The students who worked on the audio for the McCain story are:

Xavier Al-Mahmoud, age 17, sophomore at Carrboro High School
Kalil "Prodageez" Davis, age 17, junior at Carrboro High Shcool
Coleman "Lil Echo" Davis, age 17, junior at Carrboro High School
Simon "DJ SIMZ" Lee, age 16, Chapel Hill High School
Uriah "nef" Shaw, age 15, freshman at East Chapel Hill High School
Alex Smith, age 14, 8th grader at Smith Middle School

About The Founders And The Origins Of The Project

Apple Juice Kid (left) and Pierce Freelon; Beat Making Lab co-founders
Credit Beat Making Lab
Apple Juice Kid (left) and Pierce Freelon; Beat Making Lab co-founders

Pierce Freelon is front man of the genre-bending The Beast, hailed as a "natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop," by Jazz Times Magazine. Apple Juice Kid has created beats for major recording artists including MosDef, Wale and MC Lyte. They teamed up to create a project for teens.

The Beat Making Lab project started as a class at UNC-Chapel Hill, and then evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Their "lab" is portable. It includes a laptop, a keyboard and a microphone.

Global Beat Making

The Beat Making Lab shows up anywhere: in Chapel Hill or Africa. They take out their gear and help kids make beats.

Take a look at a lab they did in Goma, DR Congo:

Back To North Carolina, Late Winter Early Spring 2014

In recent weeks, students in North Carolina have been working on two documentaries and a music video project as well. We will release those videos in the coming weeks.

This project is a part of American Graduate - Let's Make It Happen, a public media initiative aimed at addressing the drop out crisis.  It's made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
Related Stories
More Stories