Fellowship Highlight: Lila Cherneff

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submitted by Sarah Eldred

With the release of the first few episodes of the podcast In The Dark last week, we want to be sure you meet the interns and fellows behind the scenes at APM Reports.

Lila Cherneff is an APM Reports fellow. She joined APMG as a tape logger for American RadioWorks, which was new to her. “As a tape logger, I was instantly drawn into the fascinating raw tape coming through my headphones: from 23-year-old veterans describing their PTSD to aging physics professors’ stories of trying to save school records from Hurricane Katrina. I was so impressed with the tone and breadth of the interviews; I knew I wanted to learn from the folks behind them.”

One of the components to radio production that Lila learned was research. “In my imagined notion of documentary radio, I thought you transition from interviews to writing to production in one seamless sort of magical creative sweep. It has been such a valuable learning experience for me to get to work with the APM Reports producers on all the tiny details and edits and revisions and re-revisions that go into producing an hour of damn good radio.”

A few highlights from Cherneff’s fellowship include tagging along on reporting trips to St. Paul Public Schools, the investigative workshop with Paul Myers from the BBC, and sitting in on tracking and mixing sessions. But where she feels she’s learned the most is, “getting to witness up close the day-in, day-out minutiae of a documentary radio program: how theory and data and deeply personal stories come together to create into a finished product.”

Lila’s supervisor Ryan Katz, shared this about her,

Lila does not walk. She shuffles. She pads. She glides. And the way she glides is a function of her personality and the work she does. Lila seemingly effortlessly handles everything I throw at her…from the mundane to the more compelling parts of her job. One hour she’s filling out spreadsheets. The next she’s reporting at a local high school, conducting research or finding archival material vital to a documentary. Lila even made it into one of our documentaries this year talking as an expert on the lack of data on college education in prisons.

And she’s creative – Lila did a sketch for our documentary on remedial education which became the lead image for the website. (She also has an unhealthy obsession with Drake.)

Lila’s illustration was used as the lead image of the Stuck at Square One documentary. Says Lila, “…very fun to work on!”

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