KALW’s Audio Academy Keeps on Reporting News While Parenting and Cooking During the Coronavirus Crisis
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Audience Supported Public Media, and Joshua Sirotiak, Audio Academy ’20 Fellow
Keep on keepin’ on. It’s what we’re all doing these days. And during this time, KALW‘s Audio Academy has continued providing vital information for the Bay Area. Here’s what they chose to work on and produce during their daily shifts in the past week:
For six weeks now, KALW has also been producing an extraordinary product sharing the day-to-day of many Bay Area residents — ride-share drivers, students, funeral directors, and others — as they make their way. It’s called The Quarantine Diaries. Joshua Sirotiak has been a regular in the series, talking about his day job as a supermarket shift manager. He’s been part of our nine-month training program while juggling that work, his family, and more. It’s inspiring.
I asked him to share some thoughts about how he’s getting through, and trying to thrive, in this time:
Ooofff. Learning to be a journalist in the midst of a global pandemic… How have things changed? Like much of the world, my home is now officially my office. At first the change was welcome. My family’s all together. I’m spending more time with them, and I’m spending less money on everything from gas to restaurants to entertainment. But I’m finally starting to get the cabin fever that I’m guessing plenty of folks have already been dealing with. I miss the old normal.
I’ve been tearing it up in the kitchen, cooking in bulk to last through several shifts at the grocery store where I work. I’m attempting to recreate some of the dishes that I crave after years (decades really) spent eating in restaurants almost daily. So far our culinary adventures have taken us to China and Ethiopia, and tonight I fired up the grill for the first time this year. I cook breakfast now.
Of course there are downsides. Try getting any bit of work done, while at the same time homeschooling a restless five-year-old, and see how long it takes to say “yes” to her watching TV for the entire afternoon. Specific to Audio Academy, there’s the challenge of creating sound-rich stories without being able to conduct face-to-face interviews (I haven’t really even tackled this one yet). And of course there’s the challenge of staying focused and motivated while the world outside of the house seems like one big question mark.
All in all I’d say I’m coping. I’m choosing to view this time as a kind of baptism by fire. If I can produce quality audio storytelling through this pandemic, then I feel like I’ll be pretty well prepared to make a career with the skills I’ve gained.
So that’s where I’m at.