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Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in ACE Learning Center, Continuing Education | 0 comments

KALW Audio Academy Excels With Stories on Passing: Sounding White or Gendered Language

By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW

NPR's Jason DeRose teaches a class in ethics to the KALW news department and Audio Academy.

NPR’s Jason DeRose teaches a class in ethics to the KALW news department and Audio Academy.

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:

Virtual Reality Future

On Tuesday, we made a show that had a significant impact beyond our station. It was about identity and passing:

Crosscurrents January 27, 2015

It includes Audio Academy fellow Kristina Loring‘s intimate story about Clem Breslin who identifies as genderqueer:

Staying in the Gray

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:

The Problem With “Sounding White”

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:

Air Mediaworks: These Are Not White Men Talking

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:

One Night With the SF 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!

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