Next Generation Radio is looking for six talented college students interested in working one-on-one with media professionals during the CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference in Seattle, Oct. 20-25, 2014.
I can say from experience, this is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
My first experience with Next Generation Radio came while I was a graduate student studying broadcast journalism at Michigan State University. It was October 2005, and I’d recently been hired as a part-time student reporter for WKAR, Michigan State’s public radio station.
The only problem, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, and I had never even heard of public radio.
I’d completed class assignments that required me to write news stories and occasionally cover community happenings, but I quickly learned class is much different than being in an actual newsroom.
After a few months on the job trying to figure out if I was cut out to be a reporter, I applied to participate in a Next Generation Radio training project. I was accepted, and I haven’t looked back since.
Next Generation Radio pairs experienced and accomplished journalists with students. From start to finish, those journalists help to guide mentees through the process of creating a character driven story for air and the web. If you’re familiar with public radio, then you know this is its bread and butter.
I participated in two Next Gen projects as a student. For me, nothing was more valuable than having my mentors, Elaine Heinzman and Phyllis Fletcher, accompany me on interviews to ensure I asked the right questions and collected great sound. Having a working journalist help me through the process of writing and voicing a feature story on deadline didn’t hurt either.
These days, Next Gen Radio also includes story build outs for web. We all know, radio isn’t just radio anymore, which means you need to know how to incorporate other storytelling mediums.
I can definitely say Next Generation Radio prepared me for life after graduation, working as a reporter in a newsroom. And to be completely honest, I still call on my mentors from time to time. Now, nine years after my first experience with Next Gen, I’m elated to return as a seasoned reporter. I can’t wait to pass on all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years, and probably learn a new trick or two myself.
Back in 2005, the idea of working so closely with someone that whatever weaknesses I had would be exposed was intimidating, but not allowing that to stop me was one of the best career decisions I ever made.
A word of advice—if you’re thinking about applying, stop wasting time and do it. It’s an experience you won’t forget. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 19. Click here to read more and apply.
LaToya Dennis is now a reporter for Milwaukee Public Radio