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Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

KALW Audio Academy Stories Reflect Diversity of the Bay Area, From Artists to Edible Weeds for Salads

By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW

We’re just past the halfway point for this year’s Audio Academy, and the class’ productivity is revving up. Their choices of stories really reflect the diversity of the Bay Area, and as news director, that makes me very happy.

Academy fellow Todd Whitney produced a piece profiling Oakland-based street artist Oree Originol, whose iconic images provide a visual accompaniment to the #blacklivesmatter movement:

Oree Originol: An Artist Honors Black and Brown Lives

Alexis Luna-Torres attended a press conference announcing a lawsuit on behalf of terminal patients seeking the right to assisted suicide and produced this story:

Disability Rights Legal Center Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Patients and Physicians

This especially struck me, because she called my attention to the event and then made an extra effort to attend and turn the piece around in the same day, despite not having access to a car. She plans to continue coverage of this major medical and ethical issue.

Olivia Cueva reported an insightful story about Berkeley professors who are trying to promote the cultivation and harvesting of edible weeds in urban settings:

The Food That Grows From Concrete

I love how she juxtaposed the perspectives of academicians with the thoughts of people who live in the West Oakland neighborhoods where the studies were being pursued. That exposed great tension and helped make this a very thought-provoking piece.

On another note, this week we’re very happy to announce that Angela Johnston, who served as a 2nd year Academy member in 2013/2014 will be joining our news department staff. She’s always been an extremely productive and enthusiastic reporter, making memorable and award-winning pieces. Here are a couple examples:

The New Gold Rush: What Impacts are Tech Companies Really Having on the Mid-Market Area?

Making a Book From Beginning to End, With One of San Francisco’s Last Remaining Bookbinders

And we’ll close this note with some thoughts from Audio Academy fellow Jeremy Dalmas on what he’s been up to lately:

By Guest Blogger Jeremy Dalmas, Audio Academy Fellow

Audio Academy member Hannah Kingsley-Ma, her mentor Ninna Gaensler-Debs, reporter Angela Johnston, and Audio Academy fellow Todd Whitney balance their worklives in the KALW newsroom

Audio Academy member Hannah Kingsley-Ma, her mentor Ninna Gaensler-Debs, reporter Angela Johnston, and Audio Academy fellow Todd Whitney balance their worklives in the KALW newsroom.

After spending 10 months with KALWs Audio Academy, I’ve been doing lots of great work since this last September as a reporting fellow. Working with the editors at Crosscurrents, I’ve been tightening my scripts, improving my interviews and just getting better at doing good radio more effortlessly. Over the past few months I’ve come to feel like a real radio producer: I’ve been able to develop my critical ear and I have a much better grasp of what makes a good piece and what I need to do to make it.

I’ve also been able to challenge myself to new kinds of projects. I did my first live coverage – of Oakland’s mayor’s race in November – and I helped KALW increase its breaking news coverage by stopping by several Black Lives Matter protests. And through the encouragement of the staff I pitched a piece about the nation’s first Cat Cafe that was accepted to Marketplace. Making a piece with information and a story that was 2 minutes was difficult, but it worked fantastically.

I’m excited to continue to make great radio, get great experience, challenge myself and work with the amazing group of people at the station throughout the rest of the fellowship.

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