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Posted by on May 18, 2022 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Audio Storytelling Skills Learned at KALW Audio Academy Help All Forms of Storytelling

By Ben Trefny, Interim Executive Director, KALW

We’re nearing graduation day for our current Audio Academy class here at KALW. It’s been a year of transition — obviously for the students who are learning skills that can shape their future careers — but also for us all. We’re in the station sometimes, and we’re working from home at others. We’re masked, and then we’re not masked. All the while, as we navigate new developments, we’re informing our audience about best practices. It’s challenging, but it’s all so important, and as a public service, we and our trainees have a responsibility to provide reliable, up-to-date information to help keep us all safe. I’m grateful every day we have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the world.

One person who’s been doing a lot of that is current Audio Academy fellow D’Andre Ball. It’s been really wonderful to see his development over these past eight months, and I’m really excited to where he goes from here!

Here are D’Andre’s three most recent stories:

Why were the Geneva Towers demolished? 

Closed East Oakland foundry site to be redeveloped

COVID and gentrification: Bishop K.R. Woods is leading his church through both

And here are some thoughts he shared about his experiences:

D’Andre Ball, Audio Academy Fellow ’22

Producing my first feature story on Covid, gentrification and the black church, allowed me to dig deeper into observations and concerns I was having about my surrounding community. Not only was I able to explore my curiosity regarding this topic, but in collaboration with my editor, Lisa Morehouse, I was also able to step back and reflect on how my community concern could fit within a larger national landscape. 

The feedback and encouragement I received while producing my first audio story, makes me even more excited for my final projects. As Audio Academy comes to a close, I look forward to applying the confidence I’ve gained as a storyteller to continue sharing my voice and perspective through audio journalism.  

One of the joys for me of being part of such a longstanding training program is seeing where people go with the skills they develop with us. It’s particularly sweet when I get to see them in practice, like with my current colleagues Shereen Adel (’16), David Boyer (’14), Victor Tence (’20), and Eli Wirtschafter (’16). But it’s always nice to catch up with alumni who are out in the rest of the world.

Ian Lewis (’16) went to west Texas where he worked with Marfa Public Radio for a while, earning an Edward R. Murrow Award, and now is involved with other media. Here’s an update he shared with us:

Ian Lewis Audio Academy Graduate ’16

Most exciting news on my end is that I’m part way through making a feature length fiction movie. First half is almost entirely in the can and we will shoot the second half late in summer after the rainy season. I hope to share it with you this fall! I’m excited about the next stage of production where I’m going to use all kinds of microphones, including contact mics, to make recordings of the industrial and extractive equipment and infrastructure to make a sort of score for the film. I find the audio recording as fun or more so than the filming. I’ve also been having fun broadcasting ambient sounds and field recordings on a tiny pirate radio station in my backyard (the kind of thing you can get away with in rural Texas). And I have to say, I think often while I’m editing about the Audio Academy — maybe film editors should all begin with audio! 

Cool stuff. And much more to come, from many more folks!

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