The New Normal
On September 11, 2001, the world changed for all Americans. To address the effects of the tragedy on teens, Thirteen/WNET New York and In The Mix created The New Normal, a special three-part series that explores the aftermath of September 11. The result is a set of powerful documentaries from the perspective of teenagers across the country, illustrating how they are coping with issues at a pivotal time in American history.

These half-hour programs, companion discussion guides and Web site ( were developed with input from leading experts and an adolescent psychiatrist.

The New Normal Episode Schedule and Descriptions

  • Living With Change: Airs the week of September 14, 2002
    As one girl said soon after 9-11, "Our lives have changed in so many ways and we won’t really know how until the dust settles." In this program we highlight how teens across the country have responded and coped with the impact of the ongoing events of the past year. Interviews include: teens who were closest to Ground Zero and have returned to their schools; a teen EMS who volunteered at the site; a boy who abused drugs but stopped after 9-11; and a teen who lost her step-father, a fireman. Students in California and Colorado also speak out about how they are coping and their hopes for the future.

  • Media Literacy: Get The News?: Airs the week of September 21, 2002
    Teens are watching and reading more news now than they ever did before 9-11. This program explores how the news coverage on TV, on the Internet and in print has impacted they way they are coping with their changed world. It also helps them understand how to select, compare and interpret what they see and read in the news. For example: How can you tell fact from rumor? What is bias and what is a credible source? What is a primary source? A leading question? Why is it important to be involved and critical, not cynical? The program will also highlight teen reporters covering a news event. In the Mix teen reporters interview FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly; ABC’s Peter Jennings; Barry Gross, the chief copy editor of the New York Post; CNN’s and MTV’s young reporter, Serena Altschul; Janine Jackson, the program coordinator of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting); and others who share their insight and opinions. Advisors include the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA), an organization that stimulates growth in media literacy education by providing national leadership, networking and information exchange.

  • Dealing With Differences: Airs the week of September 28, 2002
    This program explores what schools, groups and individuals are doing to promote racial, religious and cultural understanding at a time when growing numbers of Arab-Americans and Muslims are being victimized. A Sikh teen that has been harassed and Muslim teens from various countries dispel stereotypes by providing information about their religions and the true teachings of Islam... They discuss how they have been affected and explain the differences between them and the extremists. We also hear from Palestinian and Israeli teens who are looking for solutions to the Middle East conflict. Plus, we see how a diverse group of young peer educators from Global Kids present workshop activities to raise awareness that help prevent any form of stereotyping.

    Please check your local PBS station listings for airdates. Click here for videotape order information.