Announcing Members of the 2016 KALW Audio Academy Class! Graduating 2015 Student’s Advice to Them: Share What You Learn
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio, and Chris Hambrick, Student, KALW Audio Academy
Just want to start off by saying what a first class group of people this Audio Academy is. We’ve only got five weeks left in the program, and everybody is really working hard and supporting each other. This week, members and mentors got together in group conversations to workshop their whole shows, talk about successes and challenges, and gear up for the final stretch.
Graduation day is June 11th, right around the corner, and we’ve lined up Glynn Washington – host of the nationally syndicated show Snap Judgment – to be our keynote speaker. Last year’s event was a lot of fun – check out this video
– and we’re looking forward to another great time.
Meanwhile, our evaluation team of Hana Baba, Jen Chien, Audrey Dilling and Leila Day carefully considered the applications of 82 people interested in being part of the next Audio Academy. After dozens of interviews and many conversations, we’ve named the next class. And it’s our pleasure to introduce them to you (with some oversimplified synopses):
Sharon Adel – Podcast manager for the World Affairs Council with a passion for marrying great storytelling to current events
Geraldine Ah-Sue – StoryCorps facilitator who is working on two podcasts on Asian-American culture
Luisa Cardoza – Former KZSC music programmer and current CCSF broadcast journalism student
Tammerlin Drummond – Oakland Tribune columnist, longtime journalist, and newbie to radio
Ian Lewis – physicist and philosopher interested in radio drama who has studied radio production in Marfa, Texas
True Nguyen – Tech reporter graduating from USF in May who is working on podcasts about the personal experiences of Vietnamese immigrants
Edwin Okong’o – KALW’s Africa Mix cohost who went to UCB J-school and wants to report on local/global connections
Eli Wirtschafter – American Studies and Theater double-major from UCB who has made two stories for Backstory with the American History Guys
They’ll be starting up in September. While we’re sad we didn’t have room for more of the outstanding applicants, we’re very psyched about this fantastic class.
And with that, I’m happy to share a few thoughts from one of the members of our current fantastic class: Chris Hambrick.
By Guest Blogger Chris Hambrick, Student, KALW Audio Academy
No experience in my life, so far, has quite tapped into both my anxieties and passions like my time in the Audio Academy at KALW. I am naturally chatty with random strangers in grocery stores and elevators, but when I first started reporting, the fear of making a cold call to a lead struck me silent. Now, it is my interminable curiosity that helps me power through. My thrill is finding out the answers to my burning questions and enjoying every opportunity to say, “Wow!” I probably say it way too often now, but it’s because, through my stories, my eyes are constantly being opened to the struggle for space, resources and acceptance in California.
As part of the KALW team, I occasionally get to enjoy visits to our newsroom from superstar media producers. One recent talk by Al Letson, Executive Producer/Host of State of the Reunion, Reveal and Errthang, really resonated with me. Letson said, “I think that artists have this central question that they are trying to answer their entire life.” He’s right. I do hold onto a guiding question: “How can I be of use?” These days, the answer is “by sharing what you learn”.
I’m fortunate that my microphone and recorder allow me entry into places where people will tell me their truths simply because I will listen. It’s an incredible feeling to be trusted with the backstory to some issue and I am honored to shoulder the responsibility of making sure that when I share it, my reporting is whole and balanced.