When I applied for NPRs Next Generation Radio, the first thing I heard was that it would be an intense week but it would be very short. And it’s true. The teamwork and the quality of professionals that the program has makes me think: “I wish it lasted longer,” because it was a wonderful experience.

NPR Next Generation Radio reporter Maria Palma during an interview with Gloria Smith on Monday, May 17, 2021.

Producing a non-narrated story is not as easy as it seems. It takes a lot of work from the interviewer and the interviewee. Also, meeting deadlines, following instructions and being willing to learn is VERY important. 

In this program, we are lucky to be taught by amazing people, including journalists, illustrators, audio engineers and photographers. So, it is important to learn from their experiences and wisdom, because those are unique moments.

Even in the most stressful moments, I never felt alone. My mentor Cintia was with me all the time through Zoom. And all the rest of the team always gave words of encouragement. I wish more teams could create the atmosphere that NPR Next Generation Radio does. It is almost like a big family.

One thing I will remember forever is “never create bad memories while you’re working. Wear your favorite clothes, listen to music or decorate your desk. It will make things more enjoyable.”

During this week of training, I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about Adobe Audition, how to use professional equipment and the post production process of an interview. Even though I have had years of academic training, this was simply different. In just five days, I learned so much.

I am very grateful and honored for the opportunity to be part of this NPR Next Generation Radio version and to Doug Mitchell for coming up with this idea to help the next generation of journalists. It really serves its purpose. 

Now I am feeling more confident as a journalist and I am very excited to apply what I have learned in my next stories. 

I wish every young journalist interested in doing radio could have the opportunity to participate in NextGenRadio. I did. And I am so lucky.