KALW and Audio Academy Journalists Win San Francisco Press Club Honors
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Listener Supported Public Radio
It’s awards season for Bay Area journalists, and this is a big one for KALW. On Thursday, many members of our team will be honored by the San Francisco Press Club for stories and programs produced during the 2018 calendar year. And many of those are graduates of our Audio Academy training program!
See below for the honorees (with Audio Academy fellows noted with their graduating years in parentheses):
Overall Excellence — Team — “Crosscurrents”
Public Affairs Program — Rose Aguilar, Malihe Razazan, Kevin Vance, Laura Wenus — “Your Call”
Documentary — Ninna Gaensler-Debs and Holly J. McDede — “Meet the lawyers fighting the federal government to save their clients from deportation””
Feature Story / Light Nature — Emma McAvoy and Holly J. McDede — “At Alcatraz Alumni Reunion, former convicts are rockstars”
Feature Story / Light Nature — Christine Nguyen (’18) — “Finding home in San Jose’s Grand Century Mall”
Feature Story / Serious Nature — Marisol Medina-Cadena (’19) — “Oakland-raised Maya are bridging the Mam language gap in local courts”
Investigative Reporting — Claire Stremple (’17) — “San Francisco may be the first city in the nation to open safe injection sites”
News Story — Marco Siler-Gonzales — “United Methodist Church alleges moral corruption in Glide’s leadership”
Series — Damon L. Cooke, Steve Drown, Spoon Jackson, Hannah Kingsley-Ma, Joe Kirk, Bryan Mazza, JulianGlenn “Luke” Padgett, Jessica Placzek, Andrew Stelzer, b.f. thames, Eli Wirtschafter — “Uncuffed”
Sports Feature — Kristi Coale — “19th Century Baseball Lives On In Bay Area Parks”
Sports Feature — Bo Walsh (’18) — “The Stanford Band scatters on”
Take a few minutes to click on some of those stories and see what makes them among the best produced in the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, of course, we’re still busy producing, and training the next cohort of award-winners! Here are some thoughts from Audio Academy fellow Precious Green:
I applied to the Audio Academy out of curiosity. My public radio listener bonafides were solid. I just wanted to know a little more about how the stories are made and how I could tell some of my own. I honestly didn’t think much about a reporting beat or what this might mean as a career. My goals were simple: create a good story and maybe get Audie Cornish or Scott Simon to notice me. And so I gave it a shot, and KALW said, “Yes!”
At some point during our orientation, our coordinator, Marissa Ortega-Welch, let us know that we were journalists. We even got KALW News business cards. You know that nervous chuckle you make when someone tells you something about yourself that you aren’t really ready to believe? Well, that was me at that moment. Thankfully, it soon clicked. My fellow Academy classmates and I are journalists. We are a diverse array of life experiences, training and voices that represent all corners of the Bay Area. We are uncovering and crafting powerful stories for and about our community.
There is so much that happens before a listener hears a news story that she shares with her co-workers. Iconic “driveway moments” don’t just happen. They take work. For me, it’s also taken a lot of learning of newsroom fundamentals. Each week, another fellow and I work side by side with KALW’s dynamic reporters, editors and engineers to craft news broadcasts and programming.
I am grateful to have a cohort to experience it with. During our time together, we’ve bonded during our weekly seminars. We’ve gone into the field with headphones on and mics at the ready to capture the sounds and stories of our neighbors. We have anxiously uploaded clips and tracks to Pro Tools and learned the fundamentals of storycraft. Each of us has worked on breaking news, researched and prepared election briefs, and now we are diving into truly immersive storytelling. It has been amazing.