Impact of KALW Audio Academy Stories Grows, Including New Solano Prison Storytelling Program
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
The Audio Academy‘s impact is growing on KALW, its audience, and an increasingly greater public. This week provided some nice cases in point:
– KALW’s Transportation Reporter Eli Wirtschafter (’16) put together an enhanced Q and A with Crosscurrents host Hana Baba about the expansion of the borrowing economy and how transportation options are transforming in the Bay Area.
– Audio Academy fellow Amber Miles (’18) aired a story on Crosscurrents bringing together a wide variety of perspectives on abortion from weekend demonstrations.
– KALW Housing and Homelessness Reporter Liza Veale (’15) pulled together a well-considered piece about what late Mayor Ed Lee‘s legacy around housing in San Francisco will be.
– Audio Academy fellow Asal Ehsanipour (’18) aired her first feature: a long and sound-rich Audiograph about our local Alemany Farmer’s Market, the oldest in California.
As News Director, I can say that the experience we’ve gained training all kinds of people within our Audio Academy and related programs has led us to expand our teaching horizons. Our next endeavor will be at Solano State Prison, where we’re about to launch the Solano Prison Storytelling Program. Eli has been leading a team that includes Hannah Kingsley-Ma (’15), Audio Academy mentor Andrew Stelzer, and former summer trainee and current KQED reporter Jessica Placzek. We’ve got all of our equipment purchased and brought to the prison, now, and it’s just a matter of that gear getting processed before we start working directly with inmates at our second prison.
It’s pretty wonderful to see ripples like that extend from the Audio Academy, and they’re happening all the time with individual graduates. Truc Nguyen (’16) is now a significant part of KALW’s development department alongside Chris Hambrick (’15), and she’s now overseeing the local music curation for Crosscurrents. Liz Mak (’14), who graduated with our first class, is currently working with the nationally syndicated Snap Judgment. And this coming Tuesday, we’ll be airing a story she made about a senior at Mission High School who emigrated from El Salvador. Also, I just heard that her Audio Academy classmate, David Boyer (’14), is nearly finished with a new chapter of The Intersection about how Google‘s growth affected Mountain View and the entire Peninsula.
It’s wonderful to see all that sophisticated work happening, and truly joyful when you can see it get started as we did this week with Asal’s first story. Keep listening!