One of the hardest radio stories I’ve worked on
Radio journalism is difficult. In reality, all journalism is difficult. You deal with sources who are hard to work with, don’t respond to any form of communication, and once you actually secure the interview, they hurt their leg and cancel at the last minute.
Getting into NextGenRadio offers an amazing opportunity to connect with a family of public radio nerds all across the country and get the chance to create an amazing, emotional story about an interesting subject. Sure, your subject might cancel on you, like almost all of our sources did before any of the participants even showed up to the workshop. But that’s a big lesson in journalism. There are many times when you’ll have to find a new source quickly or shift gears. It’s part of the job and having that happen during this workshop only helps you learn more.
I didn’t know what to expect at all when I found out I got into the program. I had just finished a fellowship with Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon over the summer, so it’s not like I had zero radio experience. But I’d done nothing like what I did at NextGenRadio. I was nervous once I boarded the plane from Portland to Sacramento — traveling to a city I’d never been to before to meet people I’d never seen before (except for maybe hearing them on the radio). Once we got into that room though, I was ready to tackle the week ahead of me.
They were right when they said NextGenRadio is a family. It truly is a group of people passionate about each other’s work and there to help you succeed in your journalistic career. I’ll be grateful for the friends that I made and the skills I was able to learn from this project. It’s very hard to put together a multimedia story in one week, especially when you’re finding the source the Monday of. But I know that I’ll be able to use this experience in the future when heading out to establish myself as a true ‘public radio nerd.’