Audio Academy All-Stars in Training Absorb a Lot as They Learn How to Audio-Report the News
By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW
I’m so happy to talk about what a group of all-stars in training we have this year in KALW’s Audio Academy. Check out some of the work they’ve done in the last few weeks, both around general news as well as informing folks about the upcoming midterm elections:
Fentanyl deaths in Santa Clara County on the rise — Priscilla Ankrah
Heated mayoral race could spark skepticism for San Jose voters — Kelby McIntosh
Oakland Measure S: Allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections — Daniela Rodriguez
Oakland Measure W: The Fair Elections Act — Alia Taqieddin
Oakland Measure Y: A new parcel tax to fund the zoo — Astrid Fedel
Bayview welcomes Lucky supermarket to the neighborhood — Wendy Reyes
Dungeness crab season delayed to protect migrating whales — Mary Catherine O’Connor
Here are some thoughts from the Academy fellow who made that last listed story, Mary Catherine O’Connor:
I have an old clock radio. So instead of being jolted awake by a grating alarm, KALW rouses me from my slumber every morning. Usually the first thing I hear is announcer Kevin Vance, or the BBC World News. Every so often I hear a news brief by an Audio Academy Fellow. That’s actually how I first learned about KALW’s Audio Academy.
I’m not new to journalism, but I am new to making radio. And I can’t believe how much I’ve absorbed in the first month of the program. I’m having to unlearn many habits and mindsets, both major and nuanced, from print journalism… No, unlearn isn’t the right word. Adjust. Because it’s not as though I’m leaving print behind – I’m just building a new skillset. My goal is to use these new skills to become a better reporter, a more keen listener, and more capable communicator.
Audio Academy is a ten-month program. That’s a huge time commitment for us fellows, but it’s also incredibly demanding of KALW’s dedicated staff. If there’s one thing that has most impressed me about the Audio Academy, it’s how driven all of the instructors, editors, and mentors are to the program’s mission. For them, this isn’t just about teaching us fellows technical skills that we can use in our careers. It’s about sharing their love for radio and for telling true, powerful stories with voice and sound. Most importantly: they want us to internalize that alchemy and interpret it through our individual perspectives.