Where do I begin? This week was not entirely conventional for me, and despite it, I learned so much and enjoyed the process of it all. 

My week with Next Generation Radio stretched into an additional week, meaning my total project time frame fell to the Friday after the original deadline. This was the result of personal time complications, but that didn’t deter the NextGen team from allowing me to participate in the project. As Doug told me, they chose me for a reason — and I’m so glad they did. 

I cannot express how thankful I am to Doug and Steph for choosing me, and taking a chance on me after the complications arose. Seriously, I’m so unbelievably grateful. These two weeks were some of the most important reminders of my college career that I really do love journalism with a passion and joy that I couldn’t find anywhere else. 

Throughout these two weeks, I learned how to create an audio narrative, wrote a digital story, learned the technical aspects of audio and video shooting, and — most important of all — had the chance to create and tell a story I loved. This program didn’t only give me the technical skills a journalist should have, but it also instilled a confidence in me to pitch stories and tell them effectively. 

This program isn’t just something to put on your resume, it’s something that grows you mentally — as a journalist and a person. 

Even though this year’s NextGen program was remote, I worked and got to know some incredibly talented and passionate people. They are happy to be there and help you, and you can tell. It infects you with an excitement for your project that is invaluable to have. 

To my mentor, Jenn, you were amazing. I think we were brought together because our personalities matched; we worked so well together. Thank you for making time for me and for giving me such amazing feedback. Also thank you to my illustrator, Ard, for such a beautiful rendering of Flash Gordon Parks and his story. Thank you to Rachel for looking over my web story — I’m a good writer because you’re a great editor. Thank you to my video and photo editor, Kevin, for being so great about your feedback and so receptive of me. Finally, thank you to Steph and Selena for helping me with my audio story — I had never done one before, but you guys made me a better storyteller and creator through your guidance.

NextGenRadio is a place of learning, collaboration and creativity where you are taught both the hard and soft skills required for journalists today. More than that, it’s a program that provides journalists with a space to think outside the box and tell stories of the untold heroes in our communities. That’s invaluable. 

This was a week I will take with me for the coming years of my career.