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Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

Audio Academy Class of 2017 Graduates, But the Show (and the Work) Goes On

By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio

They did it!

Greer McVay (’17) shares a laugh with KALW development director Annette Bistrup and ACE board member Bob Gerhardt.

We celebrated the graduation of the Audio Academy class of 2017 with an event at the Sunnyside Conservatory near the station. It was a beautiful space, and a wonderful event, with many emotional and meaningful speeches that deeply moved me. Reveal‘s Al Letson gave a terrific keynote address about the importance of journalism about and for all people, the Kitchen SistersDavia Nelson and 99% Invisible‘s Avery Trufelman spent the evening with us, as did three members of the board of the Association for Continuing Education, whose support makes the Audio Academy program possible. Also, it was terrific to see our former managing producer Julie Caine return from heading Al Jazeera‘s podcast initiatives to be part of the party. This was a great and memorable time, as you can see from pictures taken at the event.

Congratulations to the graduates!

Al Letson, host of Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, gives the keynote address at the 2017 Audio Academy graduation ceremony.






Kanwalroop Singh (’17) receives a messenger bag stocked with KALW gear and a membership to the Association of Independents in Radio from her mentor, KALW managing news editor Jen Chien.











Cari Spivack (’17) checks out her graduation certificate.











Nicole Grigg (’17) makes a point.










Josiah Luis Alderete (’17) shares some thoughts.











This week, I came back from a very relaxing vacation to what could have felt like a crazy, hectic news department. In addition to wrapping up our work with the Audio Academy, we’ve got 12 new summer volunteers in the house, four high school interns, and a bunch of hires going on, in addition to putting together our daily show! But I’ve got to hand it to our committed and caring team of Hana BabaJen Chien, Jeremy Dalmas (’14), Leila DayAudrey Dilling, Ninna Gaensler-DebsChris Hoff, Angela Johnston (’14), Hannah Kingsley-Ma (’15), Holly McDedeLisa Morehouse, James Rowlands, Steven Short, Judy Silber, Andrew Stelzer, Liza Veale (’15), our beat reporters, and our Audio Academy fellows for helping make our transition (and ongoing transitions) work out so smoothly. (I hope I didn’t leave anybody out there!) I’ve heard from

High school interns from the San Francisco Unified School District train with KALW’s Holly McDede and Jeremy Dalmas (’14).

summer volunteers that they’re feeling good and well cared for, and it’s been truly awesome to see our high school trainees, Allison Ajpop-Perez, Kasey Chen, Eloisa Herbert, and Susanna Luo cruising around the station making recordings!

Sixteen new people in the department! Amazing!


Even though it’s most certainly a very busy time, we had a phenomenal week of Crosscurrents programs. Some highlights from Audio Academy fellows and alums along with our new summer reporters include:

– some really fun audio gathered by sound engineer James Rowlands along with summer reporters Jesse Rhodes and Corinne Smith of people celebrating the Golden State Warriors‘ championship

– a lovely, listener-generated story about a hospital program for cuddlers by Nicole Grigg (’17)

– summer reporters Andy Bosselman and Laura Wenus going to the scene of the mass murder in San Francisco on Wednesday to record a stand-up account of what happened. We also aired a poignant interview Laura and Andy conducted with a UPS employee who identified himself as “Mr. O”

– housing reporter Liza Veale (’15) airing a sound-rich feature looking at how Lake County towns have and have not recovered from a wildfire.

– a moving piece from L.A. Scott at San Quentin Radio about terminal inmates being released so they could die outside of prison walls

Remarkable work, team!

Friday morning, we received this note from a listener:

To the KALW reporters and management,
   Yesterday I heard an interview with one of the employees, Mr. O, of the UPS operation where the shooting occurred in SF this past week.  I found the interview incredibly touching.  This was not a “sound bite” but a true heartfelt expression of the feelings of the man caught in this horrible experience.  I want to thank you for such good reporting.  I found your reporters were very respectful of Mr. O and showed concern for him as well as getting a good story.
   Not only did I learn about how the experience of witnessing this tragedy affected Mr. O but also his own efforts to improve his life and live near his children.  This brought me closer to the lives of so many working Americans than all the statistics we could recite.
Thanks for a job well done.

And check out the power of sharing stories! Nicole’s “Local Hero” piece about the cuddlers at the Stanford Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit was picked up by the hospital’s social media account, and, as I write this blog post, it has received 926 likes, 41 comments, and 65 shares from there alone:
Stanford Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Yesterday at 5:16pm

“Parents spend as much time as they can with their hospitalized newborns, but they sometimes need to be away from the bedside. KALW public radio is recognizing a special group of “heroes” at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford who offer comfort and support: the baby Cuddlers.”

The full story is here:

Cuddler volunteers recognized as local heroes

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