Spring Brings KALW’s Audio Academy Into Bloom
By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW
It’s been a while since we gave an update on KALW’s Audio Academy. At this point, our class is moving into more independently-directed production — they’ve gotten good at making spots, researching information, checking facts, pitching stories, conducting interviews, recording sound, and making their first feature assignments. Those were stories in our @work series — profiles of people and the jobs they do, often highlighting how they’ve changed because of the pandemic.
Here are links to the pieces that have aired in recent weeks on KALW:
Books for all: Medicine for Nightmares opens in the heart of the Mission — Elizabeth Aranda
Reinventing classical music for the digital age — Ryan Howzell
A shelter manager strives to work harder after the pandemic — Jasmine Ramirez
Here are some thoughts Dorothy shared about making their first feature:
My first story was really exciting to work on, and I felt ready to finally tackle a story — KALW style. I feel thankful for my sharp editors and really appreciated the wealth of feedback and knowledge I could tap into. I also felt inspired by the work ethic exhibited by my editor and mentor and felt supported in my ideas and how to execute them. Looking forward to my next piece.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to catch up with alumni from the graduating class of 2021. Scott Carroll, Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman, David Exumé, and Annelise Finney joined me for lunch at Horn Barbecue in Oakland. It was terrific — and the camaraderie between classmates was beautiful to witness. Also, it was truly inspiring to learn that 7 of the 8 graduates are actively practicing the art and craft of audio journalism professionally (with Scott busy spending his time in personal and professional health care). Jobs range from day reporting at KQED, to earning a fellowship reporting on AAPI mental health issues through USC Annenberg, to working at PRX’s Snap Judgement, to getting started with NPR’s How I Built This! So much talent finding its way through KALW’s flagship training program! We couldn’t be more proud.
And just a few days ago, while starting a road trip around Southern California, I met up with one of the Audio Academy’s primary teachers last year: Sonia Narang. She led our 2020 election coverage and then the health and equity reporting that led to our podcast What Works: Grassroots Solutions Around The Bay. Sonia was thrilled to hear about the success of our students, and as you can see, she and I repped the station well with our KALW shirt and sweatshirt down in the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens.
Stay tuned! Just as the flowers bloom in spring, so do the storytelling journalists from KALW’s Audio Academy!