KALW Audio Academy Students and Alumni Make Impact Around the Country, and Find True Love Too
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
As our current Audio Academy class continues to work on features and develop their whole shows to present in the next few months, I’d like to share some nice highlights from our fellows and alumni:
– Geraldine Ah-Sue (’16) produced a story, last week, for our engagement project Hey Area, in which our reporters find answers to questions our audience has about the Bay Area. In this case, it was something of a ghost story, exploring where Oakland’s Lake Merritt’s “necklace of lights” came from. Spooky!
– Truc Nguyen (’16) reported a very informative story about the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The piece aired last Wednesday, on the 40th anniversary of an historic Bay Area sit-in. Timely!
– Cari Spivack (’17), who made a very creative and thoughtful piece about how the popular Bay Area name “Portola” should be pronounced, pitched the story to The California Report, a statewide program, and had it accepted. Awesome!
– Jeremy Dalmas (’14), KALW’s cost of living reporter, just finished reporting and recording a story for NPR’s All Things Considered about San Francisco’s financial justice director. We’ll share the link once it reaches the air. Represent!
Speaking of Jeremy, he’ll be the lead instructor for our summer high school internship program. He also taught students last year, to great reviews and outcomes, so we’re very excited about what’s to come. We’re currently accepting applications through this link.
This month we say goodbye to two significant contributors to KALW’s team.
Julie Caine has helped oversee the Audio Academy as our managing producer, and she’s been one of our great teachers for several years. She has taken the position of Executive Producer of Audio / Product Development & Innovation at Al Jazeera +, where she joins Audio Academy alumnus Raja Shah (’16).
Ted Muldoon started with us as a summer volunteer in 2014 and then became an Audio Academy member with the class of 2015. He’s taken a job as an audio producer with the Washington Post. Ted created the sound for many new KALW products, such as Sights & Sounds and FSFSF, and he’s been a regular contributor to Crosscurrents.
We’re sad to see our colleagues go, but we’re very exited about the work they’re moving on to do.
Another one of our colleagues, Leila Day, who’s been a tremendous mentor and trainer in our Audio Academy, is currently teaching students in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, at the renowned Transom workshop with legendary public radio producer Jay Allison. She shared this story with us about the project Audio Academy alum David Boyer (’14) produced:
“Students shared one of their favorite pieces they ever heard and a student said The Intersection, because she was fascinated on how the story was structured, impressed at how the reporter got people to open up, and amazed about how much she learned.
“Students eagerly jotted down the podcast name and Jay Allison said, ‘That’s the type of reporting that we all need to strive for. To create something that sticks with you.'”
Lastly, here are some thoughts from Audio Academy alumna Alyssa Kapnik Samuel (who married our former sound engineer Seth Samuel soon after graduating with the class of 2014):
“Since I left KALW, I’ve worked as an independent reporter. I produced two stories for CPR (the Colorado NPR station) and won a national PRNDI award for best Arts Feature for one of those stories – find those here; I produced a story for KQED about ice cream sandwiches – find that here; I photographed Joe Biden for WABE (an NPR affiliate in Atlanta); and I’ve done a few independent photojournalistic series with both photos and text: one about foster youth who’ve aged out of the foster care system – find that here – and one about refugees from around the world living in a small town near Atlanta – find that here (http://alyssakapnik.com/documentary/#refugeeportraitproject). I’m hoping to mount the refugee photographs and interviews in a show this year.
“I also work as a full-time professional portrait and wedding photographer – find that work here. I have a 5 month old baby, an awesome radio-and-music-producing husband, and I live in a wonderfully quiet and beautiful neighborhood in Atlanta.
“KALW taught me to dig deeper in interviews, and how to create a narrative. I gained a huge amount of confidence working at KALW, and really felt that I wasn’t a reporter until I spent a few months there. It made me feel empowered and taught me to really root my work and research in the local community.”