My week with NPR’s Next Generation Radio Program has been wonderful. I arrived in Sacramento on Sunday, nervous and excited to make new friends and connections, and I’m leaving on Friday feeling accomplished.

From day one, I was supported and encouraged by the staff. My mentor, Maria, was ready to jump in, feet first, and I remember our editor, Catherine, saying, “if you have any questions ask me, because I have the answers! And if I don’t have answers, I will find them.”

I have spent the last nine months in a newsroom as a part-time intern and production assistant, developing skills as a reporter and producer, but never really feeling the pressure of a close deadline for a researched piece. This week I felt that pressure, made a plan, and finished the piece within a week!

I was required to not only find a source and record their story for an audio piece, but also write an accompanying online story with a lot of research involved, take photos, and maintain a social media presence for my story and experience at Capital Public Radio.

Juggling all of these elements was challenging, because there were so many things to think about all at once! At times my mentor would remind me to post on social media, take a photo, or ask a question, and I couldn’t believe I forgot something. Simultaneously, we talked about being intentional with our time. Carolina, our photo mentor, suggested we plan when to take photos so that we don’t struggle to record at the same time. Planning what elements we have to collect, and when to collect them, was one way I learned how to be organized in my planning and interview.

After this week, I’m heading back to Fresno to continue working with Valley Public Radio. This opportunity at Next Generation Radio has further solidified my love of public media, and I am motivated to pursue and report more stories in the coming months.