Column: The NPR workshop changed my career

In Columns, Lifestyle
An illustration of a person sitting between tall buildings, and underneath a rain cloud.

“Your largest fear carries your greatest growth,” a picture of this unknown author’s quote appeared on my Twitter feed over the winter break. It spoke to me at the time, but I had no idea how much it would ring true in the weeks to come with NPR’s Next Generation Radio project approaching.

I took part in the Next Generation Radio project from Jan 14 – 18 at Cal State Fullerton. Everyone who participated was paired with an experienced professional in the journalism industry as a mentor. Over the course of the week, we created a non-narrated audio story accompanied by a written article and photos to give a visual element.

If I said I wasn’t worried about working on this project, I would be lying. The ability to edit audio and shoot video were skills that I knew were crucial to my growth as a journalist, but I grew anxious as the days neared. I was fearful, yet hopeful for what was to come.

Before I knew it, it was the day of the Sunday dinner with my Next Generation Radio team and I started feeling frantic. As I prepared for the upcoming week and all that it entailed, I thought of all the hours of sleep I would lose in the process.

I met the mentors and my fellow mentees at the introductory dinner. After listening to the stories the mentors shared about their time in the field, I began to feel tackle the week ahead.

My mentor, Michelle Faust Raghavan, a health care reporter at KPCC, and I worked closely throughout the week, from brainstorming each component of my story to piecing them together on the final workday.

A photo of a girl with a mic and headset who is interviewing someone else.

(Courtesy of Michelle Faust Raghavan)

Throughout the project, I had my fair share of highs and lows. Google Maps sent my mentor, our illustrator and I to the wrong address. I stood at the front door with my headphones on and mic in hand ready to capture the recording of our greeting, only to find a stranger at the wrong townhouse a couple blocks down.

Luckily, no one answered the door, or else I would have had to explain myself and possibly be accused of invasion of privacy.

Despite the hilarity of my slipups, I celebrated the small victories like improving my audio editing skills with Adobe Audition and delivering a solid on-camera narration through the trial and error of finding the perfect video backdrop.

The project was officially complete on Friday afternoon, after we listened to each story with our guests and the entire Next Generation Radio team.

‘Am I Going To Make It Here?’: An Iranian Woman’s Search For Success In America

This was one of the best experiences of my early career because through this project, I could utilize all I’ve learned throughout my courses at Fullerton College..

I grew as a journalist and as a person over the course of five strenuous days thanks to Raghavan’s advice and tips from other mentors. Her expertise impacted the story I created and will surely impact the work I do in the future.

I was afraid of failing, screwing up and not being a good enough writer, reporter or editor. However, overcoming that fear is what carried me through the week. I learned to go for it despite my fear to create a story I’m proud of.

Mobile Sliding Menu