The KALW Audio Academy News Team Covers National Politics From a Local Angle
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
We’ve been putting a lot of energy, at KALW, into covering how the Trump Administration is trying to change the world. Much of the recent work by the Audio Academy and its alums reflects that. Check out some of these examples:
Cari Spivack and Jeremy Jue did some on-the-spot reporting as President Trump’s executive orders around immigration began to come down. Their research helped me put together this informative conversation with our host, Hana Baba, as the news was unfolding.
The weekend after President Trump signed the executive order banning residents from seven countries and all refugees from coming into the United States, Cari and Liza Veale (’15) went to San Francisco International Airport on separate occasions to document the protests. Here are the sounds they recorded.
Jeremy put together this piece showing the ways in which school districts around the Bay Area have responded to the President’s executive order to increase enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. On Friday, I adapted that and paired it with this conversation I had with the San Francisco Unified School District Chief of Staff about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
Also, Hannah Kingsley-Ma (’15) worked with students from the SFUSD who attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C. She spoke with them before the trip, trained them on how to record during the demonstration, and then interviewed them after the experience. It resulted in this story.
We heard back from one of the adults who helped coordinate the trip. Here’s part of what she had to say:
I’ve heard from Aglow and Briana after you aired their voices. They were both really proud. Aglow shared it with her class. Briana’s sister told her that she had spoken for her too, and how important her voice was. It’s been pretty life-changing for them — thanks for providing them the platform for real voice, and a new way to see themselves.
This is the kind of work that drives and fulfills us, and we’re proud to provide a platform for voices that otherwise wouldn’t be heard.
Here are some thoughts from Academy fellow, and my mentee, Nicole Grigg:
Working in the KALW newsroom as an Audio Academy Fellow is invigorating. Electric. Even when everyone has headphones on, silently buried in their computer screens, the energy in the room is inspiring. I sought out this fellowship in order to leave commercial radio behind and retrain as a journalist to work in public radio and tell stories that are in the public’s interest. The Audio Academy gives me purpose, focus, and supports my goals to that end.
Imagine a space where smart, thoughtful, diverse, kind people interact, create and help one another reach for a higher standard by sharing ideas and better practices. That is how I would describe my experience in the newsroom at KALW.
Ethics in journalism is a topic that is really heating up for all of us lately. Where are the lines between being a reporter and honoring the values in one’s personal life? What can we do to ensure that we are reporting with integrity and honoring other points of view in the community? Is there such a thing as unbiased objectivity or is balance in our reporting a more honest goal? Our editors and managers are working hard to create a space to listen to all of us and help us navigate this new-ish political and social climate.
I think the aspect of this fellowship that I value most is my mentorship. Ben pushes me when I get distracted and challenges me to do better and think in color. I still aspire to be proficient at Pro Tools, and I am sure that I will get there! I am confident that I will get to where I want to be and beyond because of this Audio Academy Fellowship. It is an honor to be in this space.