2015 Excellence in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium Newsroom finalist

Being 12

Jenn Hsu, Amy Pearl, Paula Szuchman, Patricia Willens, Beth Fertig, Ilya Marritz


Excellence in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium Newsroom


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About the Project

Being 12 is hard. It’s a time when kids are going through tremendous change—at school, at home, with friends. Brains develop, moods swing, independence and responsibility increase. We created a multiplatform narrative project about this dramatic age, featuring portraits and first-person testimonials of over 100 kids from across New York City’s five boroughs. We sought to bring to life the diversity of faces, voices and perspectives of young New Yorkers and take a deep look into the complex issues they face.

12-year-olds talk candidly about life as “mature kids”: they are honest, frightened, excited, opinionated, and dreamy as they talk about the challenges of school, the allure of technology and the beginnings of romance.

We decided to host our multimedia series on a dedicated Tumblr, one of the most popular social network for teens, to engage this demographic where they are online. We quickly attracted 7,000 followers, mostly tweens.

We also engaged our audience with an opportunity to share photos of themselves at 12 on Twitter and Instagram at #Being12.