My Next Generation Scramble

What did I learn? Oh, what a simple question this seems to be. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but sometimes you need a few years or maybe a decade to really see how something has pushed you to the next level in your life. But in the meantime, here are just a handful of things I gleaned from my time with NPR’s Next Generation Radio. 

The week started out with mass pandemonium. I did not have someone set to interview, so the first day I was scrambling. “Do we know any immigrants?” I asked on the phone with my mom, a frenzied tone in my voice. I was trying my best to complete assignments about my story without having a story to begin with. I learned that you need to call a lot of people to get one call back, but more than that, I gained insight into how to manage uncertainty. 

Throughout the week I had meetings with editors, sound engineers, web designers and illustrators all in efforts to make my story the best it could be. I got a taste for what it would be like working for a professional news organization and I loved it. It was invigorating being in an environment with everyone working towards a common goal; to share someone’s journey. 

Most importantly, I gained confidence in my skills and myself. This was my first time conducting a fully fledged interview, crafting an audio profile and creating all parts of a story from the audio to the writing, social media, photos and video. Before the program, I thought I could do these things; now I know I can do them. 

I am not going to pretend like I know what is coming in the next few years of my life, but I do have a feeling that this program will have a lasting impact. I’ve made connections with new mentors along with learning so many technical skills. I’ve made the best of a challenging situation. I’ve crafted a story that I am proud to share with the world. I am excited to see how this program continues to help me along my journey. 

By Elaine Sanders

Elaine Sanders is a Ventura local and art major at California State University, Northridge with an emphasis in photography and design. She’s an aspiring magazine photographer who is currently working at the Sundial as a video editor and head graphic designer. Much of her reporting has been focused on protest coverage and environmental justice. With a passion for travel, she has visited numerous countries and gained a spark for sharing stories, especially from those who are not often heard.