KALW “Teaching Newsroom” Wins Eight Society of Professional Journalist Awards
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Audience Supported Public Media, and David Exumé, Audio Academy ‘21
KALW has received a station-record eight awards from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists! (Full disclosure: I am the current president of this organization, but I am not a judge in any audio or video categories — and for the first time, this year, we won in both!) This is a testament to how a “teaching newsroom” — much like a “teaching hospital” — can combine top notch quality journalism with a top-notch training program. Here’s the press release, and here are short write-ups about our many honorees:
ARTS & CULTURE (radio/audio): Lisa Morehouse, James Rowlands, Gabe Grabin and Shereen Adel of KALW for the “New Arrivals” series, featuring books by Bay Area authors, including an in-depth look at “Home Baked,” a memoir about one woman’s subversive response to the AIDS crisis.
COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS (radio/audio): Jenee Darden, David Boyer, Audrey Dilling and Gabe Grabin of KALW for “Bay View: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression,” in which Jenee Darden shares her mental health journey.
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM (radio/audio): San Quentin Radio and the Uncuffed team at Solano State Prison with KALW for “Uncuffed,” a show about life in prison, including episodes about creating music to express remorse, rebuilding family relationships, getting through the holidays and facing the coronavirus threat.
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM (TV/video): Jenee Darden, Jen Chien and Zoe Mountain of KALW for “Where is East Oakland?”
EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM (radio/audio): Lee Romney and Lisa Morehouse of KALW for “California School Districts Lag on Dyslexia, Hurting Low-Income Kids of Color Most.”
FEATURES JOURNALISM (radio/audio): Christopher Egusa (Audio Academy class of 2020), Gabe Grabin, and James Rowlands of KALW for “Dancing Out Loud: Antoine Hunter Uses Dance To Express The Deaf Experience.”
SCIENCE, ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH REPORTING (radio/audio): Marissa Ortega-Welch of KALW for her reporting about predatory gulls eating other birds, using controlled fire to manage wildfires in the Eastern Sierras, backpacking in the age of smartphones, the history of Oakland’s Lake Merritt as the nation’s first wildlife refuge and camping safely during the pandemic.
SPORTS REPORTING: Ben Trefny, Jenee Darden and Bo Walsh (Audio Academy class of 2018) of KALW for “Bounce: The Warriors Last Season In Oakland,” a podcast series examining the impact of the Golden State Warriors move from Oakland to a new facility in San Francisco not just for basketball fans but for the community.
Very excited about that, and about the work we’re currently airing. Here are a few new features produced by our current Audio Academy fellows:
Librarian On The Frontline Of Contact Tracing Effort — Annelise Finney
I asked David to share some thoughts about his experience at KALW so far. Here’s what he had to say:
The Audio Academy has helped me move forward, at a time when everything’s come to a standstill. This is no small way thanks to my KALW mentors and the rest of the staff, who have encouraged and challenged me every step of the way. Halfway in, and I’ve built a portfolio of written and recorded pieces, with more on the way. And KALW’s extensive professional network has given me absolutely vital info on freelancing, connecting to interviewees, professional experience, and other realities of the industry. They’ve also given me an opportunity to explore interests in ways I didn’t know I could over radio. When I mentioned to my editor that I had an interest in creative writing, she directed me to someone who explored fiction in audio.
KALW’s Audio Academy has taught me valuable professional skills and given me a strong network in the field of audio journalism. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to grow alongside other aspiring professional journalists.