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NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project welcomes UT Journalism Students

Four UT-Austin School of Journalism students participated in Next Generation Radio, a week-long workshop teaching elements of multimedia and audio storytelling. Students were assisted by project leaders and mentors whose experience varied from seasoned instructor to local reporter. The event was co-sponsored by NPR and held at its Austin affiliate, KUT, in the Belo Center for New Media.

 Hawk Mendenhall, KUT Director of Broadcast and Content, thinks audio storytelling is still important and will continue to be relevant.

“Radio as a delivery system may have issues but there’s still plenty of life in it,” Mendenhall said. “There’s a renewed interest across all demographics for audio content, it’s just being disseminated across many different platforms now.”

Mendenhall thinks the workshop is a unique way for students to learn multimedia skills.

“Next Gen gives young journalists a chance to interact intensively with talented professionals on a one to one basis,” Mendenhall said. “It’s an experience that is difficult to replicate in a classroom.”

Darby Kendall, Michael Baez, Estefanía De León and Martin do Nascimento were the four UT students among six total participants. During the workshop which included instruction on writing, recording and presentation of audio storytelling, the student reporters created a radio story of their own.

Estefanía De León said her favorite memory was when she first spoke to her story subject, muralist Felipe Garza. Garza is famous for the La Lotería mural on E. César Chavez St. that was painted over for an event during SXSW music festival. The mural was repainted after community members voiced their outrage.

Estefanía De León interviews Austin muralist Felipe Garza.
Estefanía De León interviews Austin muralist Felipe Garza.

“At the beginning he [Garza] was intimidated by the microphone, but I spent three hours with him and saw how his attitude evolved,” De León said. “He opened up his heart and it showed me why I chose to become a journalist.”

 De León said the greatest challenges of the workshop were that so much information was packed into one week, and the audio equipment was tricky to handle at first. But, she said she learned quickly. Ultimately, De León described the experience as positive and rewarding.

“The Next Generation Project gave me the skills and connections I needed to become a well-rounded journalist and the confidence that I will be amazing wherever I end up in journalism, maybe even radio,” De León said.

More information on the 2015 Next Gen workshop, as well as each student’s profile and work can be found at this link: