“Civil Rights”

Civil Rights and Journalism

Tuesday August 15th, 2023
From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt

I had heard about the Civil Rights trip that the 8th grade class from Lagunitas took from friends and “through the grapevine” so I reached out to Katherine Sanford, the 8th grade teacher who has organized the trip. They had to take a break during COVID, but did run the trip in 2022 and 2023. After interviewing Katherine, I thought, “Why don’t I go?” I asked her what it would take to tag along and hopefully produce an audio piece about the trip. She said that I just had to pay for my spot and I was welcome to join, there was room on the bus!

I describe the trip in the audio piece that I finally ended up producing. I am not a professional producer, I’m more a professional at live radio, which is mostly what we do here at KWMR. And producing music shows is another beast all together. 

This past year we had the opportunity to work with a journalist who turned up at KWMR and ended up bringing her skills as a radio journalist to a small group of us at KWMR. I played the pieces produced by our team on the radio recently. Each piece took a lot of time. I played a draft of the Civil Rights audio and got some great feedback and Ideas. I also shared the draft with some radio folks that I respect, and got even more great feedback. 

Pool at the King Center in Atlanta, GA. photo: AE

So this piece HERE is what I have produced. I think I could continue to tweak it, add audio, delete audio, change the narration, etc. until the cows come home. But at some point it has to be done. I’ll likely work on it a bit more since I listened to it again, and there are a few little things that need some work. Ah, well.

The radio journalism that you hear on the big NPR affiliate stations takes a great deal of time to produce, even when they are on a deadline. There are edits, and editors to run things by. Other than the most breaking news, pieces like what you hear on NPR’s Marketplace, are produced quickly, with a lot of effort. That is all those reporters do, they don’t have to help run the whole station.

I hope you enjoy listening and get a sense of what we experienced. And if you ever get the chance to take a trip like this, it is well worth the time and effort. 

I read in Monday’s Independent Journal about a Civil Rights trip that is being organized by Performing Stars. The IJ has a paywall on their stories, which I respect. The trip sounds similar to the one that the Lagunitas 8th graders take. And like the Lagunitas trip, the idea is that the people who go on the trip bring something of their experience home with them. This group from Performing Stars will also document their trip working through the Community Media Center of Marin. I look forward to seeing what they produce!

Amanda Eichstaedt
Station Manager/Executive Director

p.s. I am on the mend and appreciate all the kind words.

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