As someone who feels like they’re arriving a bit late to the world of audio journalism, I cannot express enough my gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside so many amazing journalists as part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio. 

For a long time I’ve admired from afar the colorful stories that appear on public radio—it has always seemed like magic to me. Yet it was only until recently that I even considered that I could have a hand in telling those stories myself. Participating in Next Generation Radio has shown me that rather than being run by magicians behind a curtain, radio is the product of incredibly organized and abidingly diligent human beings. Next Generation Radio has been a dazzling spectacle of technology, expertise, and dedication—nothing short of inspiring.   

I think I learned a lot this week, especially about the technical aspects of having a successful interview in the field. I made some mistakes, but I think they were all valuable, teachable moments. 

Working on my story alongside my mentor was a memorable experience. I feel fortunate to have told the story of a young veteran who has a complex and powerful perspective. His military experience, his background as an adoptee from abroad, and his heterodox views on patriotism, made him a very compelling subject. It was valuable for me—and I think for him as well—to have the conversation that we did. I am glad that others will get to hear his story because of my interview. 

Reflecting on where I want to go next, Next Generation Radio has shown me more clearly the joys and challenges entailed in radio journalism. While the path ahead of me (in terms of my next concrete step be it a job, internship, freelancing, or further education) is still uncertain, two things are clear: 1) I know I want to continue to tell stories that matter, that help us understand who we are; and 2) I now have more knowledge, skills, and connections to help me tell them.