Next Generation Radio has been a humbling experience. Going into the program, I had no idea that the environment here would be so welcoming, almost like a family. All the mentors were willing to help me out in any way possible to see me succeed throughout the week, and even after the program.

With a background in every medium of journalism except audio, I was eager to learn everything there is to know about reporting for the ear. With a few pointers and instructions from Patrice, the program’s audio engineer, I was out in the field interviewing sources with my handy recorder and a pair of headphones.

The theme this week was “No Fixed Address,” which refers to stories about Houston’s sense of instability, often with housing, after Hurricane Harvey. My multimedia package consisted of an audio feature, web article, photo gallery and infographic about what one Salvation Army homeless shelter is doing to assist displaced LGBTQ youths.

I was able to tour the Salvation Army Young Adult Resource Center drop-in facility led by Jermaine Harmon, the shelter’s development specialist. His eccentric and lively personality was just what my piece needed to balance out the grim realities of those who have lost everything in the storms.

My mentor Chantal de la Rionda helped me narrow my story down to a single, compelling topic. We used an NPR story blueprint to figure out the audience and main point of the story, which I often forget to do. Initially, I had compiled a long list of people I could interview and reached out to see if they were interested. I did this because of my fear of not having a plan B, C, and D to fall back on.

During my Next Generation Radio training, I’ve learned to trust myself and my preparation and see setbacks as a learning opportunity, not failures. 

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