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Posted by on Dec 27, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, Continuing Education | 0 comments

KALW Pros and Audio Academy Grads Win Big in Local Journalism Awards

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW

I wanted to share an end-of-year message of gratitude to the Association for Continuing Education and the community of learning centers. We’ve had a wonderful year at KALW, home to the Audio Academy training program, and it was capped off with 18 regional journalism awards. They would not have been possible had it not been for the support of ACE, which has supported our development programs for many years with ripples that impact the industry all over the country and around the world.

On Wednesday, November 30, the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored KALW with six awards at its Excellence in Journalism ceremony, including several for Audio Academy graduates (noted in bold italics with the year they completed our program):

Best Arts and Culture Reporting: Jeneé Darden, Porfirio Rangel ’19, David Boyer ’14, David Kwan — Sights & Sounds Magazine

Best Explanatory Journalism: Chris Egusa ’20 – Dismissed: COVID-19 and Disability in California

Best Health Reporting: Angela Johnston ’14 – Housing as Healthcare: How Housing Can Save People’s Lives

Best Podcast Feature Reporting: The Spiritual Edge: Judy Silber, Hana Baba, Imran Ali Malik ’20, Tarek Fouda — Becoming Muslim

Best Public Service Journalism: Scott Carroll ’21, Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman ’21, Carla Esteves ’21, David Exumé ’21, Wren Farrell ’21, Annelise Finney ’21, Andrew J.M. Garcia ’21, Angela Johnston ’14, Sonia Narang, Liza Ramrayka ’21 — What Works: Grassroots Solutions Around the Bay

Meritorious Service to SPJ NorCal: Ben Trefny

On Thursday, December 8, the San Francisco Press Club recognized KALW with a dozen awards at its Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards event, including the following:

Radio/Audio: Editorial

1st place: Wren Farrell ’21, “Pills And Productivity: A Personal Perspective”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Feature Story / Light Nature

2nd place: Sofie Kodner (summer ’19), “Bay Area Wildlife Habitats Are Disappearing. Fox Guy Has A Plan.”, KALW

3rd place: Babette Thomas (summer ’20),“West Oakland House Mural Brings The Women Of The Black Panther Party To The Forefront”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Feature Story / Serious Nature

2nd place: Angela Johnston ’14, “Shelter-In-Place Hotels Offer Unlikely Health Benefits For Houseless Seniors”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Investigative Reporting

2nd place: Chris Egusa ’14, “Dismissed: COVID-19 And Disability In California”, KALW

Radio/Audio: News Story

1st place: Sunni Khalid, Hana Baba, “Local governments and communities grapple with how to cope with people living out of their vehicles”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Podcast – General Interest

3rd place: Scott Carroll ’21, Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman ’21, Carla Esteves ’21, David Exumé ’21, Wren Farrell ’21, Annelise Finney ’21, Andrew J.M. Garcia ’21, Angela Johnston ’14, Sonia Narang, Liza Ramrayka ’21, “What Works: Grassroots Solutions Around The Bay”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Podcast – News

1st place. Shereen Adel, Hana Baba, Angela Johnston ’14, Lisa Morehouse, Gabe Grabin, James Rowlands, “Crosscurrents”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Public Affairs Program (Staff of 1-4)

1st place: Rose Aguilar, Malihe Razazan, Lea Ceasrine, Kevin Vance, “Your Call”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Series or Continuing Coverage

2nd place: Holly J. McDede, Alice Woelfle (summer ’19), Chris Egusa ’20, David Boyer ’14, “The Progressive Prosecutor”, KALW

Radio/Audio: Sports Feature

1st place: Chris Beale (summer ’21), “Queer Performers Making Space In Professional Wrestling”, KALW


Audio Academy graduates Chris Egusa, Liza Ramrayka, Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman, David Exumé, Wren Farrell, and Annelise Finney join Hana Baba in accepting prize certificates at the Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards.

Altogether, KALW won nearly 30 national and regional journalism awards throughout 2022. We couldn’t be more proud of the team, and we’re deeply appreciative of the work all these folks have done to serve audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Now the journey continues! Here are some thoughts to close the year from two current Audio Academy fellows. First, we’ll hear from Astrid Fedel:

Astrid Fedel

Coming from France, I’m joining the Audio Academy with a different media culture and approach to storytelling, so I’ve been fascinated to explore new references and learn from the US public radio methodology.

At KALW we learn the groundwork of creating compelling stories and we’re given a platform to build a portfolio of sound-rich features and interviews.

On my pathway to becoming an audio producer, the Audio Academy is opening a door to the Bay Area audio making community. In addition to collaborating with talented reporters, editors, radio hosts, or engineers, we also have access to a network, community events, and professional opportunities.

We’ll also hear some thoughts from Kyrie Nashiem:

Kyrie Nashiem

Being part of the Audio Academy at KALW has been monumental for my creative and professional growth. I really enjoyed learning the intricate nature of broadcast journalism. Finding the balance between writing professionally and writing in my own voice is a key skill that will aid me in my future endeavors. It’s been great to have a team of mentors and peers to support me in my growth, and encourage me to reach my full potential. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to utilize my strengths while gaining valuable, hands-on experience. Experiencing the process of the News Digest taught me how to research stories more efficiently and pitch my ideas. It also taught me how to collaborate with a creative time in order to develop ideas into news spots or features.

Our field recording assignment was very important, because it taught us how to bring our narratives to the next level. Using ambient noise, in-field interviews, and other sound techniques taught me how to create under a variety of circumstances. Specifically, my time covering the Clement Nursery for KALW’s @WORK series was very meaningful to my career as a reporter. I didn’t expect the experience to be so fulfilling, but inquiring about the lives and professions of the people I interviewed caused deep emotion from everyone that I spoke with. From this experience, I’ve learned the beauty and power of journalism. For that, I am forever grateful.

KALW is a very open, and uplifting environment in which I feel valued, encouraged, and respected.  I’m very grateful for the guidance of Shereen, Sunni, Ben, Victor, Hana and the rest of the KALW community.

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