From Stories About a Gay Syrian Refugee to Fly Fishing in Golden Gate, the KALW Audio Academy is on a Roll
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last report, and the current Audio Academy has been extremely productive! I’d like to dedicate this blog post to providing an update on the stories they’ve been making. Here goes:
Eli Wirtschafter produced a story about a gay Syrian refugee and his journey to the Bay Area. He did a great job sharing the piece, and it became KALW‘s top story the week it aired. Eli subsequently sold the story to The California Report, giving it an even broader audience.
As part of their training at KALW, we ask Academy members to produce interviews for Crosscurrents. That means researching a topic, booking a guest, listening in on the interview and editing the story for air. Eli produced this interview about the potential link between global warming and the refugee crisis.
Another aspect of our students’ training is taking a 45-minute raw conversation recorded by Storycorps in San Francisco and cutting it down to an airable three minutes. That’s what Tammy Drummond did with this piece about a disabled dancer.
Then there’s a series of stories that KALW has been developing over the last few years about San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. We’ve had three great additions to that series created by members of the Audio Academy. Truc Nguyen reported an Audiograph piece about the extraordinary Conservatory of Flowers. Ian Lewis made one about the well-hidden casting pools for fly-fishing. And, most recently, Luisa Cardoza reported an Audiograph about the meditative archery range on the far west side of the park.
Truc also produced a Storycorps about a group called “Our Mission: No Eviction” which aired on Monday.
Lisa Bartfai‘s story about the problems with the current bail system aired last Wednesday. It was a solid look, fueled by a strong scene of a complicated and frustrating process.
Now the cohort is in production on a series of stories to air on Crosscurrents about what public safety means to different people around the Bay Area. We’ll start rolling those out in just over a week.
This week, our seminars will be focused on investigative journalism. It’s driven, in part, by our recent visit from Susanne Reber, executive editor of Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. And we’ve also got a deadline set for pitches on whole episode ideas from the Academy members. Historically, these have been some of the most fulfilling projects created during the group’s time working with us, so I can’t wait to see what comes next!