Man prepares for standup with photojournalist

Braden Harper prepares for his stand-up video as part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio: Indigenous.


These past couple weeks working in NPR’s Next Generation Radio Program has been quite a journey to say the least. It is fair to say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I applied for the program, however I am extremely thankful I did.

Next Generation Radio does not pull any punches when it comes to simulating deadlines and expectations for story content production on radio, digital and social media platforms. It puts its students through a journalism boot camp that gives them a taste of what it is like to work in the industry. The program molds students into polished media professionals that enable them to build skills that have pragmatic applications. Overall it is extremely rewarding. However, in the heat of the work grind it can feel as if you are being forged by fire.

This workshop humbled me on a variety of levels. I learned how to ask better questions as a journalist, how to tell a coherent story and most importantly how to meet deadlines. It was apparent early on in the workshop that a go-getter attitude was not optional, but essential. My problem solving abilities were tested and expanded through working closely with my mentor and my story subject. Of which, my success in this workshop would not be possible without their tremendous support.

Personally, I found the workload rigorous, but not impossible. The best way to describe the process is like working through finals week in college. It’s terribly stressful, but terribly rewarding. I would highly recommend the program for any journalist student or early career journalist looking to sharpen their multimedia storytelling abilities. This program definitely tested my emotional and professional endurance. If you can succeed through this program, you can succeed in anything you dedicate yourself to.