Slow and steady wins the race

Karina Saidi. USC Annenberg Media

When I discovered NPR’s Next Generation Radio Program at USC, I applied impulsively. On a whim, I decided to take a chance on myself and see what would happen. Now, I can say that this professional experience has been among the most rewarding I have had to date.

I walked in knowing it would be great practice and that I would meet brilliant people. But, I am now walking out with more than I could have imagined.

Although the program spanned only a period of a week, it has offered me invaluable lessons that I aim to carry throughout my career. This is especially true because of my mentor, Alexandra Garretón, with whom I learned more than I anticipated in such a short amount of time. Working with her was a delightful reminder of the kind of character I hope always to emulate as a journalist, and as a person – thoughtful, transparent, ethical, and passionate. In a world where everyone is constantly busy and on the go, having one-on-one guidance and support from her throughout this process has made all the difference.  

With seven different ideas in the pipeline, most of which fell through, Alex and I were both striving toward producing the best story right until the deadline. No excuses. While this entailed that I was the last to finish this week, it also meant I was being supported by a team all along the way. This story is where it is because of a truly collaborative effort, with further guidance and support particularly from Traci Tong, Jason Chamness, Patrice Mondragon, Amara Aguilar, and the design team.

The positive environment in the program was particularly striking. The repeated reminders to focus on self-care prompted me to experience what newsroom culture should be like: everyone supporting each other not only to do their best, but to be their best.

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