Pulling up a seat at the table

When we were initially selected for the NPR Next Generation Radio project in March, I was grateful to have been considered for the opportunity. Now, with the uncertainty we’ve all experienced the last few months and having completed the training, there’s so much more to be grateful for. After a whirlwind of a week, I can’t help but feel that anything I write in reflection will only capture a fraction of the experience. 

Even virtually, this week ran like a well-oiled machine. Though, after 46 projects in the last seven years, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that things went so smoothly. Of course, our “new normal” came with some technical wrinkles to iron out, but I can’t imagine it being all that much easier sitting in the same room. While I missed sharing physical space with this group and the opportunity to bond in person, our connection through musical theater references and earnest conversations about the state of the industry was palpable through my screen.

Over the course of this week, among other things, I learned how to properly record and produce an audio story virtually, overcame frustrating equipment issues and produced a piece of multimedia journalism that I’m proud to share. But the greatest value that Next Generation Radio offered me was intangible. 

There’s no calculating the impact of the encouragement I received this week; I can’t measure how supported and inspired I’m feeling. There isn’t a finished product I can show you that can adequately represent the insight that our mentors and staff generously shared with us. I was struck by the limitless passion of everyone involved from the moment we first gathered as a group and continue to be moved by their dedication to equity and access to public media training. 

Next Generation Radio is truly something rare. The space is created with such thoughtful care and intentionality that anyone lucky enough to be a part of it no doubt feels a lasting impact. I’ll forever be grateful to have been a part of this project, for the connections I have made and the confidence I have built in the short span of a week. Thank you for showing me that, not only was I capable of producing this piece with your help, but I am deserving of a space in this industry. It means the world.

By Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert is currently a freelance journalist living just outside the San Fernando Valley with her retired service dog, Liberty. She received her bachelor’s in communication from Cal Lutheran in 2019 and followed it up with a master’s degree in specialized journalism from the University of Southern California in May. When she isn’t researching media trends or combing through public records, Katherine likes to bake cookies, grow succulents in her garden and listen to true crime podcasts. Through her work, she aspires to help strengthen the fragile trust between members of the media and the public by sharing untold community stories.

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