From an Awards Ceremony to Podcast Success, Graduate School, Fellowship Wins and Great Reporting, the KALW Audio Academy Keeps Succeeding
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW and Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman, Audio Academy Fellow ‘21
It’s been a little while, and I have some fun news to share!
First off, a few weeks ago, KALW staffers and trainees accepted an unprecedented eight awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter. I had a front row seat, as I currently preside over the organization in a volunteer capacity (though every KALW award-winner was judged by a committee that didn’t include me). The ceremony (held virtually over video, of course) was a truly beautiful and inspiring event, celebrating the Bay Area’s talented and diverse journalists and organizations, with many moving speeches and tributes. If you have the chance, check out this video — and SPJ NorCal will share individual clips of the award winners soon!
More good news! My longtime colleague and friend Hana Baba, host of KALW’s Crosscurrents and a mentor in this year’s Audio Academy, just had her podcast The Stoop picked up by the Radiotopia network. This has been a longtime coming for a truly outstanding program co-hosted by Hana and former KALWer Leila Day. Very excited about the prospects for new audiences hearing this work — and if you haven’t heard it, give a listen right here!
And check this out! Heard from former summer trainee Kori Suzuki, and he’s been accepted to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Also, our health reporter Angela Johnston and Audio Academy class of 2020 fellow Chris Egusa both received reporting fellowships from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. We’ll be working with them on their features and include them in future blog posts.
We have a call-out for the next Audio Academy class. Here’s the link. Please spread the word!
And meanwhile, there are about two months left for our current class. They are knocking out the features, now.
Pills And Productivity: A Personal Perspective — Wren Farrell —
Substance abuse experts say there’s a strong connection between the stress of the pandemic and increased drug and alcohol use nationwide. In this story, we take a closer look at one of the personal stories behind the statistics.
So You’re Finally Eligible For A COVID-19 Vaccine. Now What? — Carla Esteves —
Starting April 15, any Californian 16 and up will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But, being eligible and getting an appointment are two different things. So, what can you do to make the search easier?
What San Francisco Unified Board Meetings Reveal About School Reopening — Annelise Finney —
On April 12, the San Francisco Unified School District will welcome some of its youngest students back to the classroom. On April 26, some secondary students will return as well. The reopenings are a victory to some. But others say it isn’t soon or comprehensive enough.
Of Reddit And Rescue: The Memes That Helped Save Oakland’s Favorite Duck Couple — Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman —
Last fall, two ducks at Lake Merritt became a bit of a sensation. Through the worst parts of the pandemic, they inspired a community of Oaklanders to keep their heads up. But it turns out the ducks were in trouble of their own, and they almost didn’t make it.
Speaking of Azul, here are some thoughts he has to share about some other recent reporting he’s done:
I’m currently developing a story on Mother Brown’s Dining Room, a homeless resource center in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. I grew up right next to Bayview, in neighboring Potrero Hill, but working on this story has allowed me to see my surrounding community with a fresh perspective. As I’ve conducted interviews with Mother Brown’s staff, I’ve been amazed at the stories they’ve told me. Stories of intergenerational traditions of compassion, fierce neighborhood pride, and the importance of having a good time while you do good work. Part of my work has been developing a “Bayview Beat”. I’ve been talking to change-makers and community leaders in the neighborhood. I’m excited to share what I have learned about this important neighborhood, but also incredibly thankful for how it has enriched my understanding of the city I call home.