Alum Kassidy Arena joins the KBIA team


Kasidy Arena:

Yeah, so that’s one of my best stories. I am therefore hard of hearing. So when I went to Mizzou, I was like, you know, thinking, I always knew I wanted to do journalism, I went to TV thinking.

And then I actually worked with Bram from KBIA for one of my very first introductory classes, and I took him aside once, and I was like Bram, look, like, I’m really sorry, but I don’t really think I can, like the radio, I don’t really think it’s gonna be a bit, like, it’s gonna be a big challenge for me, that’s what I was telling him.

And he said, uh, how about, like, meet me at my office, and we can talk about it. So I entered there. And he taught me all about how radio is actually a super visual medium. And he was like, going into the specifics of the genre, you don’t really need to hear that perfectly. You can, for example, look at this sound wave and see if it fits.

It was literally someone from KBIA who taught me that the radio was within my reach. And a girl who wears hearing aids can absolutely do radio a little differently.

Caoilinn Goss:

A lot of the people you cover don’t get much coverage and don’t have much media training, do they? Is part of your job teaching people about media literacy?

Kasidy Arena:

I’m so glad you asked! So part of my beat is kind of, I took on this huge community outreach and community engagement project.

So something that I do pretty regularly is I go to immigrant groups, or I go to citizenship classes, talk to groups talking to students about what it means when a reporter wants you talk.

And so the reason I started this project is because my family is from Cuba. So one day, my grandparents talk to me. And they asked me, who tells you what to say on the radio? And I was like, Well, what do you mean, like, I’m writing it!

And they were like, well, but the governor, you know, doesn’t tell you what to say. And I was like, no.

So it completely crossed my mind at the very beginning, that a lot of people in my neighborhood are immigrants or immigrant families, and they don’t have a full understanding of what you know, the freedom of the press means — heck, even American citizens may not really know what a free press is.

So when a reporter talks to you, that’s what you should expect. These are your rights: you can say you don’t want to talk about it, you know, no one is going to force you to talk to us. You can expect a level of confidence, you can expect your story to be told accurately, fairly and truthfully.

So that kind of stuff is something that I think I took for granted. But something that I think is going to make a difference in addition to empowering people to share their stories, but also educating the general public about what their power really is and how journalism can be a vehicle for them.


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