NPR’s NextGenRadio Florida Newsroom Project has taught me so much, not only about the work that goes into a fully-fleshed story, but about my own capabilities as a journalist.

When I was brought onto this project, I was incredibly nervous because my previous source had backed out and I needed to find a story quickly. I knew I’d have to play a game of catch-up with the quick turnaround of the assignment, and I didn’t want to drag any of my team behind with me.

But the truth is when you’re working with people who care, you don’t fall behind — they’re behind you when you fall. So I felt comfortable asking for help, something I’m not used to doing. Everyone happily obliged and made sure there was a way I could keep moving forward.

I’ve always had an immense amount of respect for the art of the craft of journalism. Managing editors, digital and visual editors, illustrators, audio engineers, mentors, and many other vital people are involved in the process. However, I’ve never worked on a story of this scale before where I could work alongside professionals and get to watch them do what they do best and offer me their expertise.

For instance, watching an audio engineer edit sound and having them explain what they did is way more helpful than watching a YouTube video; or having a mentor review my work and make honest edits. I saw their experience through the help they gave me and realized that with time I can be as good at what I love as them. It made me so excited to be in everyone’s presence; I felt like I had taken a glimpse into my future.

The time and effort everyone has taken to invest in my experience as a budding journalist is immeasurable. I can’t wait to use what I have learned this week for the rest of my career.

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