KBIA alum Kelsey Kupferer trains youth journalists
Kelsey Kupferer received her journalism degree in 2014. Kupferer now works as a program producer at KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media.
She spoke with KBIA producer Adam Healy about the role of young people in media, and what radio means to her.
What is it that Radioactive does?
Teenagers get paid to produce podcasts and radio stories that air on KUOW. We serve about 500 youth per year in different capacities. And we prioritize working with youth who don't already have access to high quality arts and media programs, like youth who are incarcerated.
So it's a really cool program that I'd love to see other NPR member stations across the country kind of start to replicate.
It's kind of interesting that you said, youth get paid to be involved with this. That's pretty incredible.
They sure freakin' do. It's the best part.
Because there's so many barriers to being part of journalism, like so many internships are unpaid, you know. In the Midwest, it's like, maybe there are internships that are paid, but they're only in New York, and like, you're not gonna get there if you're from mid-Missouri.
Were you involved with KBIA to get some of that definite tactile radio experience?
Yeah, I was. So I've got a story about that.
Um, so let's see. It was the summer after my sophomore year at Mizzou. Again, I knew I really wanted to do radio, but I wasn't in classes yet that were allowing me to do radio.
And so I just walked over to KBIA. And I just walked in, and I was kind of like, "hey, like, my name is Kelsey. I'm 19. I really love public radio journalism, can I just like hanging out here?"
And Janet Saidi was the News Director at the time. And she was like, "Sure, come on over." And they really coached me through producing my first feature. And it was awesome.
What do you think is the most rewarding part of like working with kids and seeing them share their own stories over the air? What's the most rewarding part to you?
I think that making radio is such like a beautiful metaphor for learning how to be just, like, a person in the world. Because when you're making radio, you're being a curious observer in your community.
You're out there looking for stories, you're looking around, and you're asking questions. And when you ask those questions, part of your job as a radio journalist is to listen really closely to the answers to those questions, to listen closely to listen actively to listen empathetically.
If public media plans to like stick around for another 75 years, then newsrooms and audiences have to reflect the diversity of our actual public, especially in terms, I think, of racial diversity. And like, there's a lot of things that need to happen in order for that to happen.
But I think that youth journalism is a part of it. Because, I think, offering opportunities for youth to participate in the journalism process is a way for newsrooms to actually serve our public and actually serve the community that we're a part of.
The 50 Project was made possible through the support of our sponsors, long-term KBIA listeners David Black and Lee Wilkins.