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Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

KALW Audio Academy Graduates Feature Storytelling That Lands Local and National Coverage

By Guest Bloggers Ben Trefny and Liza Veale

Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW

We’re at a very exciting moment in this year’s Audio Academy: it’s the time when the weeks of training we’ve been putting in slowly start to manifest in feature storytelling.

We had a huge splash, along those lines, with a story that Olivia Cueva aired in partnership with Youth Radio on NPR’s All Things Considered. Working with our primary editorial liaison at YR, Brett Myers, she traveled to Humboldt County to report on the lives of young people working as harvesters in the marijuana industry. Here’s the story:

With Harvest Season, “Trimmigrants” Flock to California’s Pot Capital

We had a beautiful piece on Crosscurrents this week from Audio Academy member Lina Misitzis, about the longterm deconstruction project on the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Guided by Audiograph director Julie Caine, it’s a scene-rich, first-person account of the surprising sounds associated with the take down. Well worth a listen, so check it out:

Audiograph’s Sound of the Week: Bay Bridge Takedown

Everybody has cool projects well in the works at this point, and we’re excited to get them on the air. But I’d like to take a moment, too, to recognize the work of an Audio Academy member who’s no longer with KALW: Jasmin Lopez. She’s currently working on the nationally syndicated show Making Contact, and recently traveled to the border between Texas and Mexico to report on the dangerous crossings taking place there. She produced a documentary, which you can find here:

Deadly Divide: Migrant Death on the Border

Audio Academy students  and staff have some fun.

Audio Academy students and staff have some fun

One other thing I’ll mention: as part of our community-building, the Audio Academy had a great surf trip just before Thanksgiving. For many, it was their initiation into the cold Pacific, but the whole experience left everybody very warm and happy.

Now, I’d like to introduce Audio Academy member Liza Veale, who has a few words on her experience with us so far:

Liza Veale, Student, KALW Audio Academy

I can go on and exalt the Importance of Journalism in Democracy and all that, but the main thing I love about working with KALW, is KALW itself. I’m happy just being at the station.

Last week, on a Friday night, I sent an email to everyone on the news crew to ask if anyone was available to go to an event for me and get a little tape on my behalf because I was out of town. Three people volunteered. On a Friday night. This might make sense if I were one of the big-time producers that we volunteers are eager to learn from/suck up to, but I’m as low on the totem pole as anyone in the news room. That’s the point though, the totem pole metaphor doesn’t make sense at KALW. Matt Martin, General Manager, remembered my name before I could remember his. This place is confusingly utopian.

Academy member Liza Veale talks shop with KALW News managing editor Jen Chien

Academy member Liza Veale talks shop with KALW News managing editor Jen Chien

The culture of the newsroom is the reason KALW produces such high-quality news. I think a lot of indecency and corruption happens because people walk into their workplace and immediately assume a different set of standards and values than they have in their personal life. At KALW it’s the opposite: I feel effortlessly generous, gravely responsible for the way I listen and express myself and totally energized to be as amusingly idiosyncratic as my best self is. I feel that way when I’m chatting by the microwave, sending in email, or reporting a story. That’s why our work has heart and integrity and style.

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