An unexpected Next Generation Radio experience

There’s something I have to admit. I did not think I would be selected for the Next Generation Radio project.

I wasn’t confident in my work or my abilities, and, full disclosure, I waited until the last minute to write my application. I’m relatively new to journalism and it seemed presumptuous to apply for a project to work with professional reporters.

In one short week, I realized how wrong I was.

Me getting some ambi of the Wakili children while on assignment.

I’ve never felt more welcome than I did working with everyone on this project. I met more interesting people in six days than I have in my entire life. I can’t imagine a better opportunity for a young journalist.

I tackled a story that at first seemed daunting; there were language barriers to deal with, uncertainty about finding a subject and sensitive topics to discuss. But, with the help of my (totally awesome) mentor Jolie Myers, I felt like there was nothing (for the most part) that we couldn’t handle.

Me and The Best Mentor Jolie Myers

The Afghan family we visited was a delight, and I learned so much about the problems refugees face when they immigrate to the U.S. Meeting Shir Wakili and telling his story was an experience that I could never replace and one that I may not have attempted on my own.

I’ve never worked with an editor on a story and our fearless leader Traci Tong showed me why that process is so important. Her guidance proved critical in honing my story for an audience. When you come away from an interview with over an hour of tape it’s hard to imagine a story coming together. But methodically working through edit after edit you see something special emerge. That was the most exciting moment for me.

I’ll come away from the Next Gen Radio project with a host of new friends and new skills. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.