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Personal Statement

I think God wants you to have this turntable, He said as he handed it to me. It
was old, but top of the line in its heyday. He had completely refurbished it. His name was
Tom Fujimoto, and he was a complete stranger to me. Mr. Fujimoto was a seldom-talkedto friend of my parents who had seen me perusing a box of scratched up Tchaikovsky
records in my grandparents garage. The next day he was at my door giving me my first
record player. Thus began my love affair with audio.
God-ordained or not, being a 14 year-old with a turntable opened a surprising
amount of doors. Somewhere during the hours spent exploring record stores, talking to
employees, and discovering new, experimental sounds, audio became a part of my life in
ways previously unprecedented. Music was a journey, an intellectual stimulus, and an
expression of angst all at once. It impacted my interests, my worldview, and the things
about which I spent my time thinking. The music I discovered in those years became the
accompaniment to many of the major events and lessons of my life as a young adult.
The laughter of Zulu children in a rural township in South Africa reached my ears
over a music bed of Neil Young, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as I learned
about sustainable means of community development. I walked the streets of Oxford in
floods and pouring rain, thinking about my tutorial on Dostoevsky; my daily existential
crises were underscored by Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and The Antlers. I lay bored out
of my mind on a cot in a cave on an organic goat farm in Israel. It was Shabbat, and as I
alternated between reading Faulkner, Don Quixote, and pacing the floor of my cave
wishing I was herding goats, I sometimes felt as though I had only Jim Morrison and The
Doors to keep me company. Later on, I wandered the sidewalks of a Palestinian
neighborhood in East Jerusalem. I watched two teens jump the Israel West Bank Barrier,
only to be immediately arrested by Israeli police. The teacher with whom I was staying
informed me that they would be promptly beaten and sent back to the West Bank; the
exasperated cries of Neutral Milk Hotels Jeff Mangum served as the soundtrack.
Though music has a way of bringing stories and memories to life, in the last year
or two, I have fallen in love with another form of audio: radio journalism and
documentary. On a 16-hour road trip from Colorado to California, I started listening to
reruns of Radiolab and This American Life from NPR. I immediately thought, I
want to do that. Ever since then, I have relentlessly consumed every story-based podcast
and public radio show that I can find. For the last 3 semesters of my college career, I have
worked at the APU on-campus radio station, producing a documentary-style program.
The first semester, I was an unpaid volunteer, and the show began humbly, airing 8
episodes that were mostly music, with perhaps 3 short documentary features and
segments over the course of the semester. However, for the past 2 semesters, I have been
a paid employee of the radio station, and have had the time to create, report, edit, and
produce a 1-hour documentary program that airs every other week. It is called
Discovery and is generally comprised of 3 or 4 segments featuring various stories,
which all tie into one major philosophical theme or question.
Oral storytelling is perhaps one of the oldest forms of human communication, and
I have been enthralled by the opportunity to join in the millennia-old tradition of telling
stories in sound. Audio provides room for creativity and innovation that other journalistic
media do not provide. With audio, one is painting a picture, stimulating the imagination,
and taking the audience on a journey. Sound is also an incredibly emotional medium,

which makes it an ideal method for sharing stories in a compassionate manner. This is
important to me because I feel strongly that many of the worlds problems could be
solved if people were more willing to empathize. As a journalist, it would be my goal to
give a voice to those who have none, to educate, inspire, and challenge people to think
critically in order to create tangible social change.
I am an American, and as such, I am no stranger to sensationalized and cheapened
news sources that are rooted in greed and partisanship rather than journalistic integrity
and the public interest. In my mind, journalism should be a justice-oriented pursuit,
focused on informing the public in an attempt to make the world a better place. I feel the
need to step outside the ideologies of the United States in order to pursue a journalism
education with more ethical substance.
Though I have a small amount of experience in the field, I have received virtually
no formal training, and would love the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience
that this program offers, from a journalistic perspective as well as a technical one. The
fact that the program has connections to many major broadcast news outlets also appeals
to me, since my ultimate career goals are to either produce radio documentaries for one of
the major shows in that field, or to be a correspondent or producer for a radio news outlet.
I feel that the courses in this program, particularly Creative Radio, Sound Story
Telling & Intertextuality of Narrative, and Radio Studies - A Cultural Inquiry, not only
suit my passions and the things I want to learn, but would also help me achieve my goal
of eventually working in the world of radio journalism.
I feel that I would be a valuable contributor to this program because I am an avid
learner, I work well with others, and I am passionate about the prospect of one day using
radio as a medium for telling stories that inform in an educational manner, and inspire
empathy in audiences. I would be honored to have the opportunity to study and develop
this knowledge and skillset under the fine staff at Goldsmiths University of London.
Thank you very much for your consideration.