From Public Service to Public Radio
Being a Bonner Scholar was one of Anthony Moaton’s favorite things about Oberlin—so much that he spent two summers, three winter terms, and almost all of his fall and spring breaks working with the Bonner Center in some form. Public service was clearly in the cards for him.
When the 2017 graduate was selected into the Newman’s Own Fellowship Program, he could have chosen positions at nonprofits dealing with food justice issues, or an organization that focuses on education and racial equity. Instead, he jumped on an opportunity to work in public radio, even though journalism scarcely entered into his Oberlin experience.
“I wrote for The Grape for a year and applied for a WOBC radio show, which I didn’t get, so the chance to be on the air on a daily basis was too big of an opportunity to pass up,” says Moaton, who is currently a Journalism and Multimedia Fellow at WSHU Public Radio, an NPR affiliate and classical music station in New Haven, Connecticut.
Since he began in June 2017, Moaton has taken on a variety of projects, including covering local news throughout Connecticut while recording and voicing his stories for the radio, producing interviews with politicians and leading experts in the arts and sciences, and assisting with playlists for the classical music broadcasts, including the nationally syndicated Sunday Baroque podcast.
His first feature story looked at the lives of students at an alternative public school in New Haven. The topic became an eye-opening experience.
“I grew up constantly hearing that alternative schools were places that they send ‘bad kids’ to, and I wondered what happened to those bad kids once they went to those schools. A lot of times, those young adults tend to be black or Latinx, with varying circumstances that make it difficult, if not impossible for them to fully function in a typical public school,” Moaton says. “I wanted to see what one of the alternative schools in the city was doing to actually help their students graduate and develop a sense of self-worth and autonomy. I spent weeks scheduling interviews, drafting scripts, taking pictures, and recording and editing the final mix. I was very proud that I got it on the air. My overall goal was to amplify the voices of the people who have been in that community.”
Moaton, who is from Oak Park, Illinois, created an individual major in performance studies. As a Bonner Scholar, Moaton was an America Reads tutor, a community service work study program assistant, and a Bonner Congress Representative and senior intern, which allowed him to work closely with the director of the Bonner Center and serve as a mentor for younger Bonner Scholars. He was also a peer advisor in the Career Center, and a member of the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue. He was also a Mellon Mays fellow and involved in campus theater and a capella groups.
Moaton is currently applying to MFA programs for theater and devised performance, and he hopes to keep his foot in the door of public radio. While his time at Oberlin didn’t specifically train him to be a journalist, Moaton says he developed time management and critical thinking skills necessary to take on any challenge.
“All of the experiences I gained taught me how to listen and communicate effectively, and how to own and use my voice. Those two things will take me far, no matter where I go.”