August 18, 2017

Reporter Field Notes

Surviving the ‘deep end’

By Jerry Rafael

As a senior staring at the beginning of a journey into the “real world,” I now have a better picture of what I want to do after I leave the relative safety of my college grounds.

When I look back at my week at NPR’s Next Generation Radio project at KUT, the phrase “thrown into the deep end” comes to mind. It was definitely intense but worth it. I learned quite a bit in my short time here, such as what makes a good story when you only have audio to rely on and how to really focus your piece to connect with the audience. I’ll be taking these lessons with me.

It amazes me what the audio piece ended up being, especially after four initial ideas fell through. Every step of the way, my mentor was there to encourage me. It was this encouragement that helped me soldier through the tough moments, like an extremely long day of audio logging, editing and scripting.

My background is mostly in video, so working on an audio-only piece was a complete 180. I had to think about processes that I normally wouldn’t even consider. Going forward, even if the bulk of my future work ends up being in video, I will pay more attention to my audio.

After listening to NPR for a number of years, I never dreamed that I would be able to work with this great organization. I won’t be forgetting this week and everyone who I got to share this journey with.