DE HUMO TV
De Humo TV is a Nicaraguan television show directed to teens and young adults. The show was on national television on Channel 12 and broadcasted on 6 different local channels. De Humo is a project by Free Press Unlimited and is part of the Wadada News for Kids Network. The network is active in +15 countries, is broadcasted in 11 languages with a reach of over 100 million people.
During my time in De Humo TV, I hosted over 100 episodes, produced and created +250 short-format (3-5 minute) video pieces, and interviewed +500 people in traditional long-format interviews and Vox Populi. My pieces focused on topics that are not usually discussed in Nicaragua, like sexuality, women's rights and health, LGBTQ+ rights, active citizenship, and human rights in an accessible and relatable language for young audiences and the rest of the family.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the hemisphere; thus, education is not accessible for every citizen. The challenge was to allow teens to feel part of the show, to give them a voice, and to broadcast their ideas, inquiries and concerns. As you will see, vox populi was used as much as possible to question authorities or situations, but also to answer doubts.
This was the most difficult and controversial piece I made while working on the TV show. The script required several weeks of research and advice from different experts.
After talking to a sex therapist, we agreed it would be more interesting and less aggressive if the piece would focus on the gender issue, how come it is acceptable for boys/men to talk about masturbation but for girls/women it is a taboo? For this piece, we required written authorization from schools and parents to interview teen girls. Once permission was granted it was very important to find girls willing to talk about female masturbation and to question how come nobody ever talks about female pleasure.
The first part of the piece explains how big and recognized female artists sing and talk about masturbation as a normal part of our sexuality. A vox populi is followed, with girls describe how come it's a taboo to talk about female masturbation and how the church, parents and society have taught them a girl should never touch herself. It was necessary to clarify why this happens, a voiceover was added on how Nicaraguan society is very conservative and women are seen only as future mothers, how women’s bodies belong to families and are not built for sexual pleasure, then more opinions on their own experiences.
Then, a sexual therapist gave a scientific explanation on why women also have sexual urges since puberty; she explained it is completely normal to get aroused and that masturbation is healthy when done safely and properly. The therapist also advised girls to explore their bodies before having sex, and if they are not ready to be sexually active they could use masturbation as a way to feel pleasure and to wait until they feel comfortable.
When the piece aired the only feedback received on social media was from people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, we also received several emails and phone calls asking to stop making influencing kids become “sex addicts”. What was more interesting is that the youtube video became one of the most seen in the history of the show and whenever I would visit schools girls would request more videos like this.
FIRST MENSTRUAL CYCLE
In De Humo TV, I tried to focus most of my pieces around women’s health issues due to the fact that Sex Ed classes are not part of the Nicaraguan Education System. Religious believes a conservative society and lack of proper education have given Nicaragua the title of the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Latin America.
I started this piece with a voice-over explaining how and why women's bodies change. In a Vox populi interview style, other teens explain how their bodies started changing, this style was used vox populi to create a relatable narrative to other teen girls across the country.
After a scientific explanation was given through a voice-over. Having an expert to clarify doubts and myths was very important, in this case, a gynecologist was invited to explain hormonal changes, basic information on how you will feel physically once you have your period, what is normal and how to identify if there is something abnormal happening with your menstrual cycle. I decided to close with tips from other girls on how to make those days easier and more comfortable.
TEACHER CHILD MOLESTER
William James Vahey, a teacher at the American Nicaraguan School was suspected of child molestation after his computer was found with hundreds of child pornography images. He had been a teacher in international schools around the world for almost 40 years. I used this terrible situation as a way to give tools to kids on how to identify a possible child molester and what to do if you know of someone being molested or if it is happening to you.
First, I stated the facts about the case; why the FBI was looking for him, his M.O and how he was caught. Then a vox populi condemning his acts and requesting authorities in schools and the government to make proper background checks on teachers. I added a voice-over to mention the teacher was the most popular and a loved faculty member, therefore we should not judge a book by its cover.
A therapist specialized in teens was contacted to provide proper advice on how to identify a possible molester and what to do if we know of a similar case in a school. To close the piece, I decided to add tools for whoever would watch it, providing phone numbers, social media accounts and other contact information from organizations and government institutions.