The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

PBS Podcast ‘On Our Minds’ co-host, senior voices teen mental health

Senior James Kim explores new media
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Courtesy of James Kim
Microphone in hand, senior James Kim interviews someone on the streets of Seattle. ‘On Our Minds,’ like many other podcasts, allows Kim the opportunity to interview outside voices. Kim met with the podcast ‘On Our Minds’ team in Seattle, and began production. “I never realized that it could be such a creative outlet for me,” Kim said. “I remember growing up I was really into theater or  choir and going into high school I started letting go of that. And so it’s cool to revive that part of me, and just have that creative side of me always functioning throughout the week.”

Microphone looming. Recording rolling. Production team watching. “I can’t mess up,” replaying over and over inside his head.

Senior James Kim obtained the position of the Season 4 co-host position for the PBS podcast ‘On Our Minds,’ and the debut episode aired on Dec. 13. With half of teenagers facing mental health issues, he hopes to explore this new media and accomplish the goal of the podcast to voice awareness.

In November, Kim traveled to Seattle, Washington, to record the “Pass the Mic” Season 4 pilot episode. The Season 3 hosts conversed with the Season 4 hosts in the episode.

“I went to Seattle to just record some like in-person clips, and meet my co-host and producers,” Kim said. “I got to learn about the nuances of podcasting because this is a first-time experience for me. ”

The other co-host is senior Bree Campbell from Queens, New York. Kim said getting to know Campbell throughout the week in Seattle made it easier to record because it felt like just talking to a friend.

The in-person clips are used for promotion on social media. Follow @studentreportinglabs on Instagram and @ReportingLabs on ‘X,’ previously known as ‘Twitter,’ for ‘On Our Minds’ content.

“The goal of PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ podcast, ‘On Our Minds,’ is to give students a space to report on topics that matter to them, voice their experiences, and connect with others,” OOM executive producer Briget Ganske said. “Mental health and well-being relate to all aspects of teenagers’ lives from school to family, friends, sports, music, gender, race, and identity. The overall message of the podcast is that ‘you are not alone’ and ‘talking about what you’re going through helps.’ ”

Kim found out he got the co-host position during the summer of 2023. Only two high school students out of the country are chosen each season.

“While we were reviewing host applications and conducting interviews, James stood out for his positive attitude, willingness to learn and try new things, plus his humor and kindness,” Ganske said. “He also brings a unique perspective through his many interests: speech and debate, knowledge of multiple languages, and wanting a career in the military.”

Ganske works with Youth Media Producer Jaylah Moore, and the OOM production team to create content “made for teens, by teens.”

In Seattle, co-hosts and senior James Kim and Bree Campbell record clips for the podcast ‘On Our Minds.’ They spent a week in November getting to know one another other and learning the art of podcasting. The podcast is available on Apple, Spotify, Youtube and RSS streaming platforms. (Courtesy of James Kim )

“I think that it’s important for us to spread the awareness that ‘it’s okay sometimes to not to be okay,’ ” Kim said. “A lot of teenagers like to keep that side of them suppressed, but just having a healthy discussion about it and putting it out on the podcast – inspiring others, is really important.”

Kim is interested in pursuing a career as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps Lawyer.

“For example, I want to go into the military in the future,” Kim said. “The idea of mental health there especially is stigmatized. I feel like it’s really tough on the people who serve, and the mental obstacles that they have to overcome in the military. So I think it’s like a good introduction for me, to do this podcast.”

Weekly, Kim joins a Zoom call with the co-host and production team to record audio clips.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Kim said. “At first all I was thinking was ‘Oh, I can’t mess up because if I mess up then we have to start from square one, and rerecord everything.’ I tried my best to be super perfect, but that stressed me out even more and made me make more mistakes.”

The editing and production team splices together the Zoom call-recorded clips into episodes. Around 10 episodes are produced every season.

“They really encourage you to be as natural as possible because, sometimes, when you go in there, you stiffen up or you start talking in a podcaster-type voice,” Kim said. “And so they’re like, ‘No, you gotta be yourself. We want to hear the authentic you.’ ”

Despite the hurdles of the beginner experience, Kim found an appreciation for a type of media he had not explored before.

“I never realized that it could be such a creative outlet for me,” Kim said. “I remember growing up I was really into theater or  choir and going into high school I started letting go of that. And so it’s cool to revive that part of me, and just have that creative side of me always functioning throughout the week.”

James is one of the most hardworking, talented people I know. It was exciting to be able to listen to him introduce himself and be on a national program.”

— Reaves Lo, senior

The first episode of Season 4 released on Dec. 13. Click here to listen.

“It’s still a surreal feeling to be a co-host for ‘On Our Minds,’ ” Kim said. “Now that Season 4 has debuted, I hope our platform will offer solace and a reassuring realization to students across the country. By sharing our struggles through personal narratives, I believe we can connect in such a fragmented landscape.”

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Kaya Miller, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Kaya Miller, originally from Los Angeles, California, moved to Prosper, Texas in 2017. She attends Prosper High School as a senior. This is her third year on staff, and she is co-editor-in-chief of Eagle Nation Online and editor-in-chief of the print newspaper Eagle Nation Times. Miller is on the Prosper debate team as historian. She is also president of the Spanish Honor Society. Miller is also on the Dallas Rowing Club Juniors team. In her free time, she enjoys baking and playing guitar.
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