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Ace Spectrum is about you — the ACE Learning Centers.
It’s a quick sharing of ideas, inspiration, opinions and best practices among our continuing education organizations.

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KALW’s Training Programs Heat Up Like Summer and Reflect the Bay Area’s Varied Perspectives

Posted by on Sep 8, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW

Just like the weather around California, KALW‘s training programs have heated up toward the end of the summer. We’ve been so happy to work with our wonderful teenaged and adult trainees, and the people who benefit most are our audiences. I often reflect upon how our newsroom’s worldview is so deeply shaped by the people who come through our training programs. The work we produce — representative of the Bay Area’s diverse communities and the world beyond — is reflective of the people who make it. And the more perspectives we can share, the better our practice of journalism.

Check out some of the recent work from our summer folks:

Homelessness in Richmond has nearly doubled in three years — Raphael Cohen

Bay Area consumers urged to conserve power usage to avoid outages during record-breaking heat wave — Monica Gomez

22,000 Kaiser nurses picket over equipment and staffing shortages — Sunday Holland

Cooling centers open in Bay Area amid heatwave — Sebastian Miño-Bucheli

Here are some thoughts from Sebastian about the program he’s been part of:

Sebastian Miño-Bucheli bit by public radio bug.

Getting bit by the public radio bug meant I left the world of print journalism for something better. I found that I feel so comfortable writing scripts, getting ambi, and most importantly, I’m able to be myself.

I’m very thankful to news editors Sunni Khalid and Shia Levitt for being able to make me slow down in my voice tracking and take a different angle when I encounter stories I may want to work on in the future. I’m beyond thankful for the cohort I’m in; we were all super shy in the beginning but we watch each other’s backs when new opportunities come up for stories or jobs. After this summer season, I can proudly say that I was good in my hands all along. 

I’m on the career path of being a producer on a show soon where I’m able to air thought-provoking stories with a team, but I remember I’m currently doing that here at KALW’s summer academy program. 

If you feel like you need that extra push to learn what it takes to be a producer, you should try the program. It’ll boost your confidence in writing, reporting, and pitching stories. You don’t want to miss out on that. 

Hear here!

I’m also happy to share some thoughts from 2nd year UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student Hanisha Harjani, who spent her summer working with us:

Hanisha Harjani looks for stories underneath the surface.

One of my favorite parts of the Audio Academy have been the morning news digests. This daily practice of identifying the most interesting news and then talking about the questions that those stories bring up has helped me become a much better reader and reporter. During one of the first orientation days at the beginning of the Summer Academy, I remember Shereen Adel, KALW’s Manager of Editorial Operations, quoting Tasneem Raja (of the Oaklandside) who said, “Don’t think of your story as an endpoint, think of it as a middle point.” And the news digest has helped me practice that. I’ve become more confident about the stories I want to tell and when there has already been reporting done on a subject, I am more inclined to look for the spaces that remain and the questions that still linger to tell the stories that might still be underneath the surface.

It’s so important to share your thoughts about the world. It helps shape it, and you never know the impact it will have on the people around you — and even on people you’ve never met. Our young journalists are on that journey, and we’re very grateful that we have the chance to work with, and learn from, them.

By the way, as a final note, I’m really excited to share something from our youngest trainees. The students behind tbh — our podcast by, about, and for teenagers — just dropped the trailer for the new season.

Check it out right here:

tbh Season Three Preview 

There’s a lot we can all gain by listening to the next generation! Subscribe to the podcast and see what these young people have to say!

Help KALW’s State Prison Training Program “Uncuffed” Become Un-cuffed by Donating to Support Four Lost Months of Funding, and Other Stories Too

Posted by on Aug 29, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW

Precious Green (L) and Ben Trefny at Manny’s.

I just got back from visiting Audio Academy class of 2020 alumnae Precious Green. She’s working as Director of Programming at Manny’s — a coffee house, bar, bookstore, lounge, and events space — which has nightly civic-minded engagement events. Precious just celebrated her one-year anniversary on the job, and it’s been a busy one! She recently interviewed California Representative Adam Schiff on stage, and in a couple of weeks she’ll speak publicly with San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Really thriving in a great space. You can see, we were pretty happy to see each other there, and she’s repping our training program in the process!

While that’s great news, I have some challenging news to share, too.

Here’s the backstory: Our training program in California state prisons was recently awarded funding through a California Arts Council program that would have continued our work for two years at Solano and San Quentin State Prisons and expanded our programming to California Institute for Women. But two weeks ago, we learned that a clerical error led to the council rescinding all awards (including not just us but 14 other organizations working in prisons).

We can reapply, but the process will take an estimated four months, there’s no guarantee we’ll get the funding, and our uncovered costs in producing our podcast and providing training and support for incarcerated journalists during those four months totals $80,000.

We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign, and it’s generated over $15,000 so far. Please check it out, if you get the chance, to learn more of the story, and if it works for your budget, consider making a donation to keep the program going! Here’s the link. And while you’re at it, check out episode one of season two of the Uncuffed podcast our program participants produce! Here’s where you can find that.

Meanwhile, our in-house summer trainees have been hard at work, learning the trade and developing their careers. One of them is Sydney Fishman, who’s been a terrific contributor to KALW’s newsroom. Here are a couple of her recent stories:

Kaiser mental health workers strike today to protest understaffing in Bay Area hospitals

Ivy Hill is turning the Old Parkway into the neighborhood weed shop

Here she is, mid-selfie, during a voice recording session in KALW’s Studio B:

I asked Sydney to share some thoughts, and here’s what she wrote to share with you:

Sydney Fishman making stories and selfies during a recording session at KALW.

When I first started the KALW Summer Journalism Training Program, I didn’t know just how much I would learn from the incredible staff at KALW. I recently graduated from a university program in journalism and am currently working at KCBS Radio. Still, I wanted to join the KALW newsroom to learn more about producing long-form narrative stories. I have learned so much in my short time at KALW. The days I’ve spent with the KALW staff have enhanced my script writing skills, the way I interview people, and how I approach voicing scripts for radio. One of my favorite aspects of being at KALW is working with editors Sunni Khalid and Lisa Morehouse. I spent a great deal of time working with Sunni as my vocal coach, where he showed me how to put more emotion and energy into my narrations. Lisa guided my writing and helped me understand more about creating a “scene in sound.” The other KALW editors and producers gave me detailed feedback on my pitches and helped me finish stories that were mere “ideas” at the beginning of the program. I appreciate all the KALWers, and it will be super hard for me to leave at the end of the summer.

Super hard for us, too. But exciting to see what you do next!

KALW’s Summer High School Podcasting Institute Students Wrap it Up

Posted by on Aug 16, 2022 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW

We recently wrapped up instruction for KALW‘s Summer High School Podcasting Institute. Congratulations to the teenagers who took part in the media criticism, training, and production at the station’s Burton High School campus on the southeast side of San Francisco.

Clockwise from left: Carolina Cuadros, George Reitan, Aria Baldinger-Williams, Elise Muchowski, Cassidy Kanner-Gomes, and Elizabeth Truong.

Now it’s time to get back to school — whether it’s high school or college. But the memories of a hands-on, media-making, student-focused, training program remain. And so does the anticipation of season 3 of the podcast tbh: by, about, and for teenagers. Coming next month. They made it happen! And we all benefit!

Elizabeth Truong, Aria Baldinger-Williams, Carolina Cuadros, and George Reitan record a roundtable session in KALW’s Studio B.

Here are some outgoing thoughts shared by some of the students who completed the program.

Instructor Holly J. McDede engineers while Cassidy Kanner-Gomes voices her story.

The KALW Podcasting Institute has been an incredible and very educational experience for me. I got to meet and work with a group of amazing, motivated teens. The instructors were extremely supportive and helpful, and I was able to learn a lot about my own writing in the process of working with them. It was amazing to be able to go through the entire reporting and writing process on a subject that I’m really passionate about. I’m extremely glad I got the opportunity to do this, and I definitely gained skills that I will continue using for years. — Cassidy Kanner-Gomes

Elizabeth Truong gets ready to lay down voice tracks.

While there were a million other things I wanted to do, working with KALW was a great summer experience just before university. One thing I learned was that the power of radio has more impact as it actively engages the audience with vivid descriptions while requiring attention. I got to work with other students who either shared a passion for media or wanted their voices to be heard! I had so much fun and would do this again! — Elizabeth Truong

Interning at KALW has been a very educational experience. Through this program, I was able to investigate a subject further than its surface level. I gained exposure to the world of real time interviews and learned to prepare for them. Constructing a script was also very enjoyable, and I received lots of amazing criticism, helping me improve my story, and writing skills. This experience has ignited my love for journalism and introduced me to the exciting world of audio news.Elise Muchowski

The 2022 KALW Summer High School Podcasting Institute students and teachers.

Congratulations to the team!