I applied for the Next Generation Radio workshop with the intention of learning more about audio and multimedia storytelling. As the digital journalist for my small tribal newspaper, I am responsible for the digital media we produce. However, my journalism training revolved more on the written aspect of journalism, and I was looking for something that would train me in how to create better tribal stories in multiple formats. Enter NPR’s Next Generation Radio workshop.

My week with Next Gen started a week early. After my Zoom introduction with my mentor, Christine Trudeau, we realized my interview with my subject had to be sooner than the Monday start date. By the time we had our first introductions with the entire cohort, I had been proactive enough that several portions of the project were already complete. This led me to feel less pressure with looming deadlines throughout the week. But the week was not without challenges. Virtual collaboration failures were expected, and they occurred. My confidence in my storytelling ability was unstable at times when I’d hear about other mentees’ projects or think of the esteemed journalists editing my work. However, that was eased by the constant support from Trudeau and other editors. Plus, there were several reminders that this was a space of a “everyone is learning together” mentality which was comforting. It helped remind me that with every story I publish, even after this program ends, I should be learning something new, no matter if I am just entering the journalism field or far down the road.

In the end, the week went by too quickly, I had run out of coffee too soon, and I was proud to see check marks in the boxes of all the projects I had completed. I experienced better ways to use technology which will be implemented in my job daily and explored more story structures thanks to my editors and Trudeau. One of the biggest takeaways is the importance of a good mentor-mentee relationship in the journalism field. Trudeau helped manage me like my “dance mom” throughout the week and gave me ideas for future stories to work on outside of this workshop. I look forward to sustaining the great connections made here and seeing more work from these amazing reporters.