This week has taught me the importance of finding a work environment that wants to see me succeed. Not only does that support result in a cohesive final product, but it also just helps to keep me sane in a fast-paced newsroom. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the program. As someone who recently graduated from USF with a degree in advertising, I was intimidated to enter a digital newsroom. Within the first hour of sitting with the Next Generation Radio team, the worries that I had previously were gone. It became clear that through this fellowship I had found a new “work family” that I could rely on and go to for any help, not just during the week but after the program as well. 

Throughout the week, I was able to work with Mark Schreiner who guided me through the audio process. I felt like a sponge all week taking in new information. He gave me advice about reporting that I will remember for the rest of my career. Being able to work so closely with someone that has been in the industry for 25 years during this project is an experience that I’ll never forget and am grateful for. 

Next Generation Radio provides it’s mentees with all the tools that they need for success, while also offering a lifelong network of people that want to support mentees outside of the program as well, not just in public radio but in all aspects of life. Throughout the week, we also discussed how to protect your magic as a creative especially as a creative entering the industry. It’s important to take care of yourself by drinking water, stepping away from the computer and getting something to eat- all of which we were reminded to do multiple times during the week-long Zoom sessions. 

The virtual aspect of this project allowed for us to connect with each other across the state and for some people, across the country and the world. I’m so happy that I got the opportunity to participate in this program and meet other storytellers in Florida. I’ve been able to connect with other mentees in my program and I look forward to the life-long connections that this program has given me.