In the Midst of Tough Year 2020 a KALW Audio Academy Student Finds Her Way to Expertise and Fun
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Audience Supported Public Media; and Carla Esteves, Audio Academy ‘21
I’ve got a quick blog post to share from Carla Esteves — a member of the Audio Academy class of 2021:
My experience as a Fellow in the Audio Academy has been incredibly rewarding and enriching. It’s also deeply humbling to be able to contribute to the institution that keeps people informed and society functioning more equitably, since it can’t be overstated how essential a free press is to a functioning democracy.
It’s only been less than a handful of months since this year’s program started for the 2020-21 year, but I’ve already learned so much in this short period of time. I credit that to two main things. The first is the way KALW has structured and built the program to accomplish the goal of arming fellows with the expertise of reporting/producing for public radio. Through the Audio Academy, we are given hands-on experience with weekly opportunities to fact-check and report stories for broadcast, paired with mentors who help keep us on track to meet personal goals during the program and offered access to tools and instruction that might otherwise be out of reach. The second is due in large part to the people who keep the station and the program running smoothly. Past Audio Academy Fellow Marisol Medina Cadena’s testimony to the value and excellence of this program puts what I appreciate about them in perfect words: “How often do you find joyful people with the knowledge you crave who are standing there with open arms, ready to share it?”
One notable experience I’ve had — apart from the fact that we are the first (and hopefully last) cohort to be completely online due to a pandemic — is the fact that we all got to work in a newsroom during a major presidential election year. On election night, every fellow was extended the chance to be interviewed about a local measure in real-time live on air by KALW’s News Director, Ben Trefny. What I appreciated most about that opportunity, aside from getting to experience being part of a newsroom during such a consequential election year, was how much trust was put into each of us.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the program, and it’s exciting that I get to continue on this journey with seven other talented Fellows who also make this experience a lot of fun.