2016-17 Fellow Emily Russell heads up Gavan Ridge above Sitka in September. The rich news environment — and a spectacular outdoor environment —  make Sitka a compelling place to train as a journalist. By January, this is an epic snowshoe trail. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Application Deadline: Monday, July 24, 2017

I – Program Overview
Raven Radio’s post-graduate fellowship is a 30-week program intended to bridge the period between the completion of a journalism student’s education and the beginning of his or her career.
The Fellowship offers a recent graduate the opportunity to…
— Gain substantial expertise in a professional newsroom.
— Refine live broadcast and production skills.
— Experiment with and develop multi-media production skills.
— Explore complex news issues in a diverse community, region, and state.
— Write, edit, and produce sound-rich, in-depth stories for local, state, and national distribution.
— Establish professional connections to NPR, the Alaska Public Radio Network, National Native News, and other affiliates.

II – Criteria
A candidate for the Raven Radio Post-Graduate Fellowship has completed an undergraduate or graduate degree program in journalism (or a related field of study) and has acquired competency in news writing, broadcast journalism, or multimedia production at the academic level, in an internship, or as a freelancer. Someone with an M.A. in Journalism looking to create a professional portfolio and to establish contacts within public broadcasting is a candidate; a college graduate with no prior experience who may be thinking about going into journalism is not. On the other hand, an established print reporter hoping to transition into broadcast would be considered for the Fellowship. Bottom line: If you’ve chosen broadcast journalism as a career and have demonstrable skills, you’re eligible to apply.

Sitka is halfway between Seattle and Anchorage — about a 2-hour flight from either city.

III – Stipend, Duration, and Housing
The Fellow will receive a stipend of $4,500 for a thirty-week period:
— Mon Sep 25, 2017 – Fri Dec 8, 2017, 12 weeks
— Mon Jan 8, 2018 – Fri May 18, 2018, 18 weeks

The mid-winter break is optional. The Fellow may work any 30-weeks between the approximate start and end dates.

The Fellow will be covered by the station’s workman’s compensation policy, but no other insurance benefit is provided. The stipend is paid only for weeks worked – there is no paid leave.

Raven Radio will provide the Fellow with exclusive use of a small studio apartment within walking/biking distance to downtown Sitka and the station. A bike and helmet are also provided.

Raven Radio will provide airfare, lodging, and per diem for the Fellow to attend the annual meeting of the Alaska Press Club in April 2018.

IV – Application deadline
Applicants must email a letter of interest, resume with references, and links to published work and/or audio samples by Monday, July 24, 2017, to:

Robert Woolsey, News Director
KCAW-FM Raven Radio
2B Lincoln Street, Ste. B
Sitka Alaska 99835
robert@kcaw.org
907 747-5879

V – Work expectations
The Raven Radio Post-Graduate Fellow, after an initial training period, becomes our colleague in the news department. We work a 40-hour week, often in the evenings and sometimes in the early morning. We share news hosting duties on three 12-minute newscast each weekday. We file stories as often as we can, and post to our regional FTP site, the KCAW website, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The Fellow – like all members of the news department – observes the ethical standards of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). In a small community like Sitka, protecting the station’s reputation for objective, open-handed reporting is paramount.

VI – Transportation
Sitka is located on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska, about 2 hours by air from Seattle. There is no road access. Alaska Airlines offers several flights a day, and there is regular ferry service aboard the Alaska Marine Highway. Although a personal car is not necessary for the Fellowship, the least expensive way to bring one to Sitka is to drive it to Prince Rupert, BC, and board an Alaska Marine Highway vessel there.

VII – Why Train at KCAW?

Modeled on the KCAW Internship Program

In addition to Rachel Waldholz, KCAW Interns Erik Neumann, Greta Mart, Vanessa Walker, and Katherine Rose have all won statewide broadcasting awards — the prestigious “Goldie.”

The Fellowship is modeled on Raven Radio’s summer internship program for journalism graduate students. Both programs take talented students from a demanding academic culture, drop them into a fertile news environment, and add mentoring and structure (deadlines!). The internship program is now in its second decade; eight of the last nine  interns have all won state broadcasting awards. KCAW’s 2012 intern, Rachel Waldholz, won for this piece about the Tenakee Bath House. 

Some KCAW interns who have continued their careers in media:

2003 – Sasha Khokha – Host of KQED’s California Report
2006 – Julie Caine – Executive Producer for Audio at Al Jazeera
2008 – Andi McDaniel – Content Manager WAMU in Washington DC
2010 – Lily Mihalik – News Design Editor at Politico
2012 – Rachel Waldholz – Reporter at Alaska’s Energy Desk, Alaska Public Radio Network
2013 – Erik Neumann – KUER Salt Lake City
2014 – Greta Mart – News Director, KCBX San Luis Obispo
2015 – Vanessa Walker – Content Writer, Facebook
2016 – Katherine Rose – Morning Host, KCAW Sitka

The KCAW Fellowship transforms training into opportunity

There’s more to learn than journalism. Emily Russell refined the art of baking on a shoestring. She made these sourdough cinnamon buns in her toaster oven! (KCAW photo/Emily Kwong)

While the KCAW internship is about training, the Fellowship is about opportunity. Our 2016-17 Fellow, Emily Russell, came to Sitka after a year at KNOM in Nome, where she developed a lasting love for Alaska. Emily’s interest in culture and politics took her some unexpected places, as in this profile of Alyssa London, the first Tlingit to win the Miss Alaska pageant. Emily filed dozens of hard stories for the KCAW newscasts, but she’ll be remembered for her light touch, like when she attempted to fly across the country with a jar of live sourdough starter. Emily also pioneered a local version of Storycorps, when she connected two generations of women fishermen to discuss their lives in this tough industry. You can connect with Emily Russell via email at russellemilyc-at-gmail.com for her perspective on the fellowship.

Fellow Brielle Schaeffer makes a guest appearance on KCAW's "Library Show."

Brielle Schaeffer makes a guest appearance on KCAW’s “Library Show.”

2015-16 Fellow Brielle Schaeffer produced 85 stories during her term, covering everything from short spots to political reporting to features, including this personal look at Medicaid Expansion, and a two-part series on treatment options for heroin addiction, which earned her an Alaska Press Club Award. Brielle came to broadcasting via newspapers, where she spent the first seven years of her career, but she adapted readily to radio. Fourteen of her pieces aired on statewide news over the Alaska Public Radio Network, including this feature on Alaskan surfing. She also placed one story with National Native News on a traditional art installation. To learn more about the KCAW Fellowship directly from Brielle Schaeffer you can email her at brielle.e-at-gmail.com

Emily Kwong became KCAW’s Morning Host after her fellowship, and then the station’s permanent reporter. Here she’s covering the Women’s March in January 2017. (KCAW photo/Maureen O’Hanlon)

Our 2014-2015 Fellow, Emily Kwong won multiple first place awards at the Alaska Press Club  for her work, including Best Sports Reporting on the rise of roller derby, Best Feature Reporting about the family behind Sitka’s local paper, and back-to-back awards for Best Profile on Tlingit Elder Herman Davis and student ambassador Jasmine Molina. Drawing upon her experience with youth and community media, she taught a week-long radio class at Blatchley Middle School and pioneered a letter-sharing project called “Sitka Love Notes.”

Emily Kwong is now KCAW’s full-time reporter, covering local government, economy, and culture, and producing a podcast about Alaska called Longline. You can email her at emily-at-kcaw.org for her insights on life as a KCAW fellow.

Occasionally, a fellow’s work goes nationwide. Our 2013-14 Fellow, Emily Forman, produced this story about airport safety for NPR’s Morning Edition.

Past KCAW fellows:

2012 – Anne Brice – Writer, digital editor for UC Berkeley News
2013 – Emily Forman – Producer of Side Effects WFYI Indianapolis, former producer of Precious Lives at WUWM Milwaukee
2014 – Emily Kwong – KCAW reporter, producer Longline podcast
2015 – Brielle Schaeffer – Daily Sitka Sentinel Reporter
2016 – Emily Russell

The Fellowship benefits more than just the successful applicant. The benefits to KCAW and to the community of Sitka are substantial. The Fellow contributes to…
— Expanded news coverage in the fall-winter-spring months.
A broader variety of stories, many of them more in-depth than typical daily news stories.
— A diversity of voices providing the news.
— An expanded website, and multi-media features that tell our stories in new, engaging ways
— More live coverage of community-based issues (public forums, town hall meetings, Tribal council, etc.)
— Improved coverage of our remote listening communities.
— Greater flexibility to work with NPR West on repackaging local and regional stories for national newscasts (see an example here).
— An overall higher level of reporting due to the expanded network of news sources and relationships that the Fellow develops over time.

KCAW reporter Emily Kwong (l.) with NPR producer Elissa Nadwormy, NPR reporter/host Melissa Block, and 2016-17 Fellow Emily Russell. Although the fellowship provides an expense-paid trip to the annual meeting of the Alaska Press Club, networking opportunities often show up on KCAW’s doorstep. In this case, Melissa Block was in Southeast Alaska working on her series “Our Land.” Block and Nadwormy spent several days in Sitka.

VIII – Dedication

Steve Will.

Steve Will.

The Raven Radio Post-Graduate Fellowship in Community Journalism was created to honor the memory of Steve Will. Steve worked in different capacities at Raven Radio over a period of about twenty-five years. Like many of us who have made careers in public broadcasting, he began as volunteer and, the story goes, he wasn’t all that good at first. Steve finally did find his groove in the news department, eventually becoming its director. His years in that job were marked by a major labor dispute at the town’s largest employer, the Alaska Pulp Corporation mill, and then the eventual shutdown of the mill itself. Despite the deep divisions in the community Steve’s reporting is still remembered as honest, even, and compelling. He went on to win one of the most prestigious national awards in broadcasting – the Ohio State – for a series he produced during that period on the sexual abuse of minors. Steve later was detailed voluntarily to serve as a regional reporter, in an experiment that shaped the present-day CoastAlaska Network. He left broadcasting for a while to write for the Daily Sitka Sentinel, but returned in 2006 as Raven Radio’s program director. Steve’s death in a bike accident in 2007 in no way canonized him. His reputation as committed journalist and passionate advocate for community broadcasting was well-established, well-deserved, and well-earned.