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Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

Whoot! KALW Audio Academy Reporters Follow the News and Make it Sound Right

By Guest Bloggers Ben Trefny and Hannah Kingsley-Ma

Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW

On Monday, we had a couple of news items that we decided warranted a newscast. So we sent former Audio Academy member (and current reporting fellow) Liz Mak along with current Audio Academy member Chris Hambrick out to San Francisco’s Civic Center area to cover two things: Mayor Lee signing the “Airbnb Law”; and the beginning of the CCSF accreditation lawsuit trial. They came back with sound, our managing editor Jen and I helped craft stories, and Liz and Chris got their voices on the air with the quick-turnarounds. Whoot!

Hannah Kingsley-Ma and Olivia Cueva discuss learning to voice stories.

Audio Academy member Olivia Cueva came in to KALW on Monday for her regular shift, took part in the week’s training seminar on learning to voice stories, and continued her work developing stories on an upcoming international hip hop performance, the use of hip hop as therapy for traumatized youth, and an Audiograph segment on Berkeley Bowl. On Tuesday, she headed north to Humboldt County, to work with YouthRadio on an NPR story about immigrants hired to trim medical marijuana plants. She plans on exploring angles while she’s there on other stories that could air on Crosscurrents.

While a lot of our work at KALW News this week focused on the upcoming elections, and several current and former Audio Academy members will be helping with our live election night coverage next Tuesday, we also found time to air some sounds of San Francisco celebrating its 3rd World Series title in five years. Audio Academy members Raja Shah and Hannah Kingsley-Ma both recorded crowds on Wednesday night, and they used ProTools software to isolate the audio for use in Thursday’s show. Whoot, again!

Today, we’ll hear Hannah’s thoughts as she entered the Audio Academy:

Hannah Kingsley-Ma, KALW Audio Academy Student

I applied to Audio Academy so that I could tell stories. Stories about the neighborhood I grew up in, and those that I have inhabited since leaving. Stories that push me out of my circumscribed comfort zone and examine regions of the Bay Area I know little about. During orientation week, it was very gratifying to learn that I was just one of many people at KALW with that same goal. Everyone I met was a storyteller, bringing with them their own unique perspective and entry points into worlds unknown.

One thing I am especially excited about is thinking about storytelling in a drastically new way. Never have I taken the time to really consider the auditory component of multimedia storytelling – the way the sound design of a radio piece can make the content feel very immediate and present, and the way it instills the story with a sense of urgency. All the writing I have done has been in print, which now seems like an extremely limited medium it terms of its capacity to evoke a place or a feeling.

All week long I have had my ears perked to try and listen to ambient sound and tone, in what will surely be a gradual process of learning to recognize what sounds are compelling or necessary to setting a scene. I also feel very affirmed that we are allowed to show our personality in our writing. Each story that was played for us demonstrated such a distinctive voice, especially in the humor that some of them exhibited. I think this unique dynamic – a collective of people similarly passionate about public radio who all imbue their stories with so much of their own selves – is what makes the KALW programming (especially Crosscurrents) special.

I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn, especially since I am coming into this program with very little radio experience. But I feel very grateful that everyone seems genuinely excited about teaching us how to become full-fledged radio reporters. The goals and benefits of this program are very tangible and real – the idea that I will be pitching and creating sound-rich narratives all throughout the year is totally thrilling.

I am especially looking forward to editing the StoryCorps footage, as StoryCorps is one of my favorite features of NPR programming. It is no small thing to be trusted with a stranger’s story, and I definitely want to honor that gesture by trying my best to preserve the integrity and idiosyncrasy of their own words.

Who’s Hannah Kingsley-Ma?

Audio Academy student Hannah Kingsley-Ma

Hannah Kingsley-Ma was born and raised in San Francisco. After graduating from Kenyon College in rural Ohio, she worked as the editorial assistant for a new American travel series called Wildsam Field Guides, where she helped produce the San Francisco edition full of oral testimonies, illustrated maps and essays written by Bay Area authors. She has interned at KQED’s Forum and tutored at 826 Valencia. She is also a hopeless bookworm who feels strongly about dumplings and fog.

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