When the NPR Next Gen program was first introduced to me, I was a bit apprehensive.
I had little to no audio experience and felt that my writing could use some work, but I applied on the idea of working alongside a mentor. I liked the thought of a week-long project focusing on a subject in many different media.
From the start of the week, I felt encouraged by the Next Gen staff to pursue my ideas, but they always did an excellent job of pushing the story beyond the surface level. In the past, I had never worked on one particular story for more than a few days, so this program showed me what it takes to put together a whole piece that I am proud of.
Coming from a photography background, I always appreciated multimedia stories, but had not taken the time to work with audio. I was nervous at first, but with practice, I slowly became more comfortable with the equipment. Once going out to conduct the audio interview, I realized it was just another way to tell the story of our subject, Orlando Olarte.
My mentor, Gabriela Saldivia, worked with me to improve a lot of different skills, but more specifically, my interviewing habits. At times our subject did not answer the question during the first attempt, but Gabriela helped me rephrase the question in a way that allowed for a fresh response from our subject.
In the past I struggled to convey the true essence of the subject, however with this project I feel the audience gets a great representation of Orlando Olarte. The combination of audio, photography, writing and illustration makes a complete package that provides an insightful look into the life of our subject.
The power of storytelling has always inspired me to get out and meet people, and now with another skill in my bag, I have the ability to tell a comprehensive story.