KALW Audio Academy Students Work on Their Last Stories Before School’s Out for Summer
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
One word sums up the feeling around our news department these days: anticipation.
The current class is deep in production on their final projects for the year – the creation and development of whole Crosscurrents shows. Here’s what they’re working on, in nine nutshells:
Chris Hambrick – the relationship between Facebook and the city of Menlo Park
Colin Peden – the Bay Area’s punk rock scene
Marlo McKenzie – endangered species in the Bay Area
Jack Detsch – the impacts of a rising minimum wage
Marcy Fraser – San Francisco’s problem with garbage
Olivia Cueva – shifting racial identities
Liza Veale – sex workers in the Bay Area
Raja Shah – how the sausage gets made (in terms of politics, video games, and sausages)
Hannah Kingsley-Ma – Oakland through the eyes of its artists
Each show has multiple elements, and their job is to make sure they come together creatively and completely. And, of course, they’ll have help along the way. The goal is to air them all in June, around the time of their graduation, so they’re hard at work.
Meanwhile, we’re getting close to figuring out who’s going to be in the next Audio Academy class. Our evaluation team is meeting Wednesday to bring the original 80 applicants down to a final eight, and we plan on calling the invitees on Friday!
Also, we’ve opened up an application process to our current Academy for some part-time paid positions beginning in July. The fellows we bring on will share duties as our daily line producers, helping manage our show flow and writing scripts. It’s a logical next step in building the careers of aspiring radio journalists, and we’ll be making our selections in mid-May – right around the time of KALW’s next membership drive.
With all that going on, we’ve still been hard at work creating beautiful, informative, and inspirational stories. This year’s fellows figured prominently in that production:
Jeremy Dalmas reported an insightful story about the high turnover rate and comparatively low pay for Oakland teachers. That story really touched a nerve with our audience and was clicked on more than 30 times as much as our average stories. He also made a personal exploration of feelings about the centennial of the mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians. Liz Mak conducted an in-depth investigation into Oakland’s DIY music scene. And our engineering intern Ted Muldoon produced some segments about the favorite teachers of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia. That’s a preview of regular segments we’ll be airing throughout May during National Teacher Appreciation Month.
The next month should, indeed, be very exciting!