Final Year’s Events for KALW Audio Academy Include Localore Grant and Tips on Deep Reporting from AP
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, KALW News Director
I just got back from visiting the site of the upcoming Audio Academy graduation with former member, and current KALW reporter/producer/mentor, Angela Johnston. We’ll be celebrating the year at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco’s Mission District with a graduation party, and we’re very happy to be there because they share so many of the same values that we do:
It’s a very artistic and eclectic venue, run by very generous and thoughtful people, and it’s going to be a really fun night!
As we prepare to say goodbye to the current Academy class, we welcomed in our summer trainees this week. It’s a terrific group, and we structured things such that the current Academy members could help train the new folks. We’ll repeat the process about four months from now, when we welcome the next Audio Academy class.
We’re happy to say that Marcy Fraser, Chris Hambrick and Colin Peden plan to put their training into effect this summer as department volunteers. We’re welcoming back Rhian Miller (class of 2014) to produce some stories and help develop more of a North Bay beat. And Raja Shah, Hannah Kingsley-Ma, Liza Veale, Jeremy Dalmas (2014) and Liz Mak (2014) will continue as paid fellows.
A couple of people we’re especially excited to work with this summer are two of our youngest trainees: Kaiden McAllister and Allison Lee. Kaiden is a rising senior at Independence High School in San Francisco, and Allison is graduating this year from Lowell High School. Both are looking to focus on building their audio engineering chops. We’ll keep you posted on what they produce!
Speaking of production, Academy member Marlo McKenzie made this video about KALW to put us forward as a candidate station for a Localore grant – the theme this year is to tell stories on the theme “Finding America.”
We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the video, and interest from producers looking to work with us, so we’ll see how that works out.
There’s been a lull in on-air content from the current Academy – directly resulting from the hard work they’re putting into their whole shows. The first one, from Marlo, is coming out on Tuesday. It’s about endangered species in the Bay Area. Colin is set to follow the next week with a show about the Bay Area Punk Rock scene. Marcy has a show about garbage collection in San Francisco, and the rest will line up as well. It’s a new thing for our Academy program, and I can’t wait to hear the results!
Finally, this week, we had our last guest speaker of the year come talk to our class. It was Serdar Tumgoren – a data journalist from the Associated Press – and he was outstanding. Who would have thought that one of our most dynamic presenters would be a data journalist?! Well, he was. And what he taught us will be immediately incorporated into our process as we produce stories for the Bay Area and beyond.