Whoot! The KALW Audio Academy Experience Ranges From First Audio Feature to Oscar’s Shortlist for Doc Shorts
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Public Radio
We’re about seven weeks into this year’s Audio Academy, and we’re transitioning from fundamental training to practical production. In fact, our first feature from this class reached the airwaves this month, when Cari Spivack reported on a demonstration in front of San Francisco’s City Hall, in which several people set up tents on the sidewalk to call attention to the inconsistencies with the city’s ongoing homeless policies. Cari did a really terrific job of thinking on her feet, gathering sound of a woman and her son setting up a tent, recording clear interviews, and getting her microphone in the middle of a conversation between the protest organizer and San Francisco’s head of homeless services. It’s a quick story that gives a nice sense of place, and you can listen to it right here.
Cari and the other Academy fellows have been putting together pitches profiling the Portola neighborhood, just down the hill from KALW. It’s a good assignment, because it helps them (and us) get to know our community better, it’s easy access, and its collective work.
Meanwhile, our weekly seminars continue. In recent weeks, we presented an hour-long class on the art of the pitch, showing fellows the best way to market their ideas to us and other outlets. We followed that with an hour on the art of the interview and another hour presenting strategies on editing interviews. This week we’re discussing ethics in journalism. We’re interspersing those lessons with one-on-one work with our audio editing software, and of course the personal attention our fellows get from their individual mentors.
Check in with Academy alum Daphne Matziaraki:
Audio Academy alumna Daphne Matziaraki (’14) is racking up honors for her work as a documentary filmmaker. This week, her non-fiction movie “4.1 Miles”, about the refugee crisis and told from the perspective of a member of the Greek coast guard, made a list of 10 Finalists for the Academy Award for short subject documentary. Watch it here, but be warned … it’s graphic and powerful. We’ll find out in January whether she’ll be one of the five nominees for an Oscar!
Thoughts from Academy fellow Boawen Wang:
I’m humbled to think that KALW extended the opportunity for me to learn how to produce joyful and impactful news, to someone who came from a nonexistent journalist background but simply passionate about learning. This has truly been one of the most immersive experiences I’ve participated so far in my life and I’m proud to share this experience with such genuine folks. I look forward to honing my storytelling craft every week through each mistake I make, each piece of feedback I’m gifted, and each clarifying moment in which radio production starts making more sense.