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Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

KALW Audio Academy Student Finds Connections with Life’s Events and Her Internship

By Guest Bloggers Ben Trefny and Marcy Fraser

Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW

KALW Audio Academy members and staffers share a meal and common interests in the newsroom. Clockwise from top left: Audio Academy members Marcy Fraser, Raja Shah, Chris Hambrick, engineer Chris Hoff, Audio Academy member Marlo McKenzie, reporter Julie Silber, manager Jen Chien, volunteer Liza Veal, and editor Leila Day.

This week, we wrapped up the last major piece by our summer volunteers – a 40-minute show about affordable housing in San Francisco. Now our story production turns more directly to the Audio Academy, most of whom have active assignments.

Much of our production in October will focus on the upcoming elections in the Bay Area. During the next three weeks, we’ll help produce our ongoing series interviewing all 15 mayoral candidates in the city of Oakland. And at least half of the Academy will join us for live election coverage on November 4th.

Today, we’ll share the story of Audio Academy member Marcy Fraser.

Marcy Fraser, KALW Audio Academy Student

It was thrilling to walk into the newsroom the first week of Audio Academy at KALW. The atmosphere first struck me as a casual but intense; the people tumbling in were quick-witted, energized and obviously committed to news and local stories. I soaked up the energy. This side of a radio station is a new world for me. On the inside I screamed, “I am an intern!”

When I applied to the Audio Academy, I had a premonition that I would be the oldest in the class – maybe in the building! My passion for radio, for news, for stories, public health and for original local stories has been with me for a long while. I am a native San Franciscan, a nurse, a swimmer and a neighborhood activist. My first job as a nurse was on Ward 5B at San Francisco General Hospital in 1983. We had no official name and certainly no treatments for a new disease killing hundreds of young gay men. It was a cherished experience that changed me, and shaped me as a person and as a professional. I carry many beautiful and painful stories from that time.

The station is located within a public high school named for Phil and Sala Burton. I appreciate the connection. Phil Burton represented this district in Congress from 1964 to 1983. He was responsible for the creation and preservation of what we now know as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. After he died unexpectedly of an aneurysm, his wife Sala succeeded him for three terms until her death from colon cancer. They were a power couple in San Francisco Democratic Party politics and left an impressive legacy. The rich history of KALW and its many firsts are a perfect fit for a school named for these two people.

I’ve worked in nonprofits for much of my career. While serving as Executive Director of an HIV/AIDS nonprofit, my direction to staff was: “no job too small”. My first impression at KALW is that it’s the same. The staff members share tables, desks, power cords and cell phones. Everything is timed and there are numerous deadlines, but they are generous with sharing knowledge and advice on top of their busy schedules. We have daily conference calls, and daily responsibilities. It is clear we are here to work, and I want to be a contributor to the effort.

Our Academy instructors asked us to choose a beat. My goals are still formulating, but I’m inclined toward a health related beat. Health and health care are two very different worlds. One of my passions is translating difficult medical news to patients and families. I would like to contribute to public’s understanding of our health care system, including how it is financed as well as how new discoveries for treatment and care are brought to market. It doesn’t have to be a mystery.

I know I will learn so much being here. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be around all of the people dedicated to KALW and its mission to “amplify the creativity and idealism of the Bay Area”.

I’m an intern!

Who’s Marcy Fraser?

Audio Academy Student Marcy Fraser.

Marcy Fraser is a native San Franciscan, a registered nurse currently working with a local hospice, a volunteer at a women’s jail, and a member of the board of directors of the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. She is an avid radio listener, current events follower, cyclist and open water swimmer.

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