KALW Audio Academy Excels With Stories on Passing: Sounding White or Gendered Language
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting NPR‘s Western Bureau Chief Jason DeRose for a few days. He led workshops on pitching, listening, his editing process, and ethics, and I was really impressed by how much energy and personal attention he put into his interactions with us all. The discussions were so in-demand, every Audio Academy member showed up on either Monday or Tuesday to take part, shuffling their schedules to accommodate. We’ve got a great partnership building with NPR and the BBC, and if the Academy members work hard with focus, there’s a great chance for them to land stories on national programs within the next year.
We made a wide variety of nice segments last week. On Monday, Academy fellow Jeremy Dalmas carried on his creative productivity with this piece exploring whether 2015 will be the year virtual reality really takes off:
On Tuesday, we made a show that had a significant impact beyond our station. It was about identity and passing:
It includes Audio Academy fellow Kristina Loring‘s intimate story about Clem Breslin who identifies as genderqueer:
The piece had a strong emotional core and provided some insight into the ways in which society really doesn’t make enough room for people who don’t identify as male or female.
The anchor story was made by Audio Academy member Olivia Cueva‘s mentor, Leila Day. She explored the ways in which she and other African Americans often find themselves passing as white, because of pressures from authorities, or expectations, or cultural habit:
It was a powerful piece, and it proved to be one of our most popular online in months. Since it aired, the story has been carried by numerous other publications:
If you click on there, you’ll see KALW right in the mix, right where we should be.
On Wednesday, Academy member Liza Veale reported a sound-rich piece about San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team:
I think this is a great example of the cinematic storytelling that we really try to teach here at KALW. Nice work, Liza!
We’ve had a very busy start to 2015. And we’ll keep building!