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When I was first accepted into this Next Generation Radio program, I was shocked, excited and admittedly, a little nervous. Now, after having this experience, I can say that applying was the best decision I could have made. Here are five critical things I learned during the span of the intensive one-week workshop.

Young woman stands in front of camera for standup video.

Here’s me, doing my standup at an Ethiopian restaurant in Anaheim. Courtesy of Elma González Lima Brandão

  1. Expand your network.

Looking for a job or even a source for a story can be stressful. But having a network of people around you who have years of experience in the industry can be an invaluable resource. Just being around the mentors at Next Generation Radio allowed me to learn news tips I will definitely be keeping in mind as I prepare to graduate and enter the workforce

  1. Budgeting your time is key!  

The most challenging aspect of this workshop was the limited amount of time we had to execute a multiform digital package. It can be easy to become obsessed with one task until it’s finished and nearly perfect, but my mentor was always there to remind me about what needed to be prioritized. Our managing editor also made sure we took breaks to look away from our screens, stretch and walk around. It was a small exercise, but I think it really helped all of us stay focused.

  1. Experiment with different digital tools.

I learned a lot about new digital tools from my mentor, Elma González Lima Brandão. It gave me a new perspective on how easy it is to take a story and expand it into something way more visually pleasing. I’m excited to experiment with these tools at my university’s newspaper.

  1. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

At the beginning of the workshop, I had a lot of concerns about my source and the narrative I was tackling. Because the main focus of this Next Generation Radio workshop is a non-narrative audio piece, much of the success and quality of the project depends on the direction and guidance you give your source in your interview. For many subjects, English was not their first language, so the audio portion was definitely a challenge. But I’m glad I decided to take on the challenge and dig deeper for the story.

  1. Always seek feedback and constructive criticism!

This is a week where your abilities will be tested, but keep in mind that everybody is always learning. Even when you think you are managing just fine, always ask a mentor what you could be doing better. See it as an opportunity to grow as a journalist!

Most of all, have fun! This is a very unique and memorable experience. The one-on-one pairing up of mentee and mentor is extremely helpful. No doubt, you will stress. But you will walk away with new friends and many good memories. Thank you Next Generation Radio!

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