KALW’s Audio Academy Stories Open Up The World, Applications Are Open for Class of 2018, and Slam Poetry Too
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
Our news department had a great visit, recently, from one of NPR‘s stars: Kelly McEvers. She’s a celebrated foreign correspondent who has reported extensively from Syria, currently co-hosts All Things Considered, and also hosts Embedded, one of the world’s most popular podcasts that takes listeners behind the scenes of in-depth journalism. She talked with our team about her path to becoming one of the most trusted voices in public radio, about journalistic ethics, and about the challenges of reporting on the Trump administration. It was a terrific hour and a real pleasure to get to know her a bit.
Then we got back to work. Here are some of the stories produced in the last few weeks by the current Audio Academy as well as alumni:
Eli Wirtschafter (’16): What does Trump mean for transportation in the Bay Area?
Liza Veale (’15): Case by case, legal aid attorneys battle displacement in the Bay Area
Liza Veale (’15): Housing vouchers fail the Bay Area
Liza Veale (’15): San Francisco wants to buy out landlords before luxury developers
Jeremy Dalmas (’14): Three months after Ghost Ship fire, many don’t have the option of moving on
Cari Spivack (’17): Trump supporters march in Berkeley
I really can’t say enough about how productive these people have been and what extraordinary work they’ve been doing. In particular, that series by Liza, our housing and homelessness reporter, was the result of several months of work, and those stories have become by far the most popular on KALW.org in the last month. Also, the documentary that Jeremy, our cost-of-living reporter, made is a beautiful, heartfelt, insightful look at the people whose lives have been most affected by that tragedy in Oakland and its aftermath. Powerful listens.
And onward! I’m very excited to announce that we just put a call out for our fifth Audio Academy class! Please spread the word: it’s a really great experience.
Speaking of which, I checked in with Audio Academy alumna Isabel Angell (’14), who has relocated to New York. Here’s what she has to say:
I’m an associate producer for The Takeaway, a national news program from WNYC and PRI, where I work on the morning team producing the live show. I also take stories from pitch to completion, like this one about an ACA recipient who wants Trump to repeal the law. Stories I’m particularly proud of include this piece about the documentary Bright Lights, which I edited in about 90 minutes, and this one about cosplayers of color (starts around 4:20). KALW/Audio Academy really helped me get my radio career off the ground after I graduated college. I got top-notch mentorship and editing and was able to report not only for the station but pitched stories to Marketplace and NPR’s newscast. As KALW’s transportation reporter, I was a guest on The Takeaway talking about Google Buses, which eventually led to my job at the show a couple years later!
And here are some thoughts from our current poet in residence, Audio Academy fellow Josiah Luis Alderete:
When Ben asked me to share some of my impressions about the Audio Academy I panicked a bit because honestly I don’t have any anecdotal examples that are going to show my proficiency increasing with regards to this here radio vida. I haven’t finished any of the assignments that I have been given so far. Also I still can’t do fact checking very well if at all… I am overwhelmed by the information in the daily (and hourly) e-mails that we are receiving… Don’t even get me started on Pro Tools… I can’t apply half of the information that is being presented to me during the lectures because I haven’t been able to apply it yet to anything that I am working on in radio because I haven’t been involved with radio (this kind of radio) yet… However strangely enough even with all these gaping holes in my experience thus far I have yet to be made to feel like the radio tech illiterate ape that I am around here. Every day that I am here some kind KALW familia member answers one of my foolish questions or shows me (or reshows me) something on the computer that tunes me into all of this just a teeny tiny bit more… I am not learning the way they” learn” you in a classroom, I am learning the way that you learn by being in a tribe or in a familia… The veins on Chris Hoff’s neck don’t bulge out as much when I ask him questions anymore… Hannah’s kind “thank you’s” at the end of the dia… Olivia coming to mi casa with flores and chocolates from everyone at the station after Fuzzito passed Honestly it seems to me that the things that have taken place outside of our Audio Academy curriculum are what have been leaving the biggest impressions on me. I am referring specifically to the discussions that I have been a part of here at KALW during this presidential transition regarding the role of journalists and the issues of media objectivity. The times that Ben has taken to discuss some of the notions, ideas, and ideals here at KALW have made me to take a much closer look and to examine my own reasons for doing radio and who I hope to reach con mi radio voz. Not surprisingly the thoughts from these discussions have spilled over into other parts of mi vida and have made me take stock of what my “radio cultural community service” is during our time here in Trumplandia… The circle of all of you the day after Donaldo won, Jen crying questioning her role as a journalist… Ben’s bicycle breathing during the morning editorial meetings… All the pictures on the wall and everybody is smiling the smiles are genuine the kind of smiles that you can hear on the radio… I am grateful for the time that I have been here so far and genuinely look forward to coming in to the station. Ninna took me with her to San Rafael last week to help her translate during some interviews… I did tracking on Holly’s story last Thursday… Re(re)wrote the pitch about the “Valenciazation” of Mission Street and am getting ready to send it to Ben… After following Chris’ outline suggestions I am excited and amazed with how my Portola story came out. (¡It’s a pinch good piece!)… The high school marching band starts into playing in the late afternoon and the Portola starts getting windy…