Sunday, October 11, 2009

About the Writers

Kellia Ramares, of Oakland, CA, has been a member of the KPFA News Department since 1999. She turned 54 on July 31, 2009. She has a BA in Economics from Fordham University in the Bronx, NY, and a law degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She did not become a lawyer, going instead into legal publishing and then into journalism. She views legal education as good training for investigative reporting. She is capable of dissecting bureaucratic reports and legal issues and is quite at home interviewing a lawyer.

During this decade, Kellia has reported frequently for Free Speech Radio News ( and Women's International News Gathering Service (; she have written written for  the web, most frequently for Online Journal (  You may have also seen my writing on the websites of the Centre for Research on Globalisation (, and Speaking Truth to Power (, and Atlantic Free Press  (, among other places.

Her broad areas of interest are: How science and technology impact our heath and civil liberties; alternative economics; how peak oil and the long term energy crisis will affect our lives; and environmental factors affecting public health. But she doesn't consider herself to have a beat, hence the name of this publication: Broadcaster At-Large. A lot of things interest Kellia and she thrives on variety.

Despite her presence on WINGS and the fact that she considers herself a straight ally of LGBTQs, Kellia hates ID politics, and prefers to stay away from most stories that are rooted in race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, religion, etc. (She has done stories on  same-sex marriage but she looks at it as a civil rights and constitutional issue rather than as a "gay" issue).

She also has no use for the touchy-feely human interest story. Ordinary people serve as an illustration of a larger issue for her; they are not the point of the story. Likewise, she has no use for ambiance for the sake of ambiance, and she believes you can have fine documentaries that don't have music. (She's done several).

KELLIA HATES MARKETING. She doesn't want to pitch ("I'm a shortstop," she says.) She doesn't want to shoehorn stories into ever smaller newsholes as newspapers, what of them are left, become advertizing circulars. She doesn't want to spend time selling. There isn't enough time to do the news! ("Damn it, Jim. I'm a journalist, not a salesman!") She longs for the old days when there was a firewall between the business and editorial sides of a newspaper, TV station or radio station, when news was thought of as a public service and not as "infotainment" and just another profit center on a conglomerate's balance sheet.

Kellia will not tailor her approach to news and public affairs to achieve popularity. BAL was formed on the belief that, with the right technology now available, its natural audience will find it. Changing the format a bit so that people can access the information using the technologies of the day is one thing, but softening the information for the celebrity-crazed culture, shortening it for the ADD generation, or dumbing it down for the idiots who say "I don't want the government interfering with my Medicare" is not Kellia's style. If something is too long, just take in what you can and come back as often as you need to. But know that this is a place for people who can "handle the truth." And if it's not hard-hitting enough, keep BAL honest by telling us where, why, and how we can do better.