The learning curve of audio storytelling

by Stephanie Aceves

During my time NextGenRadio, I had an intensive look into the world of audio journalism, a facet that I had not explored. Upon receiving my acceptance into the program, I was elated and eagerly anticipating the week ahead of me. The most important thing that I took away was feeling comfortable in work environments with big media outlets like NPR. The environment was a comfortable and encouraging atmosphere, one in which the emphasis the importance of fostering future talent. The program helped me to gain the confidence that I need to navigate newsrooms. For a person of color graduating in the Spring, I am now looking to apply to different newsrooms around the U.S. and seeing the lack of diversity that is present in different media outlets is alarming and discouraging to me. NextGenRadio bridges that diversity disparity that is present within newsrooms by allowing students like me to be mentored by professionals in the field.

Also, as a person who is primarily involved in broadcast and video producing, I had never explored the importance of audio in journalism. But through the program, I learned how to edit on Audition and the intricate process of storytelling through audio. Having my mentor work closely with me during the entirety of the process was extremely valuable and I learned a lot about audio journalism. In video producing and broadcast, it’s easy to tell stories and tell the news through images and captions. Within the audio piece, you have to rely on questions that are asked within the interview and it relies heavily on the importance of subject expressing themselves in complete sentences. The ability to ask questions that can accurately portray the subject’s story is of utmost important.

One specific challenge that I faced during the process happened during the interview. Because of my inexperience in audio and interviewing subjects with a sensitive past, I was in my head the entire time of the interview. It was hard to be in the moment and truly follow the interviewee. Instead of having a conversation, I focused on the questions that were missing and being asked.  Now that I have the experience in how to interview with audio, I can evolve into a better interviewer in all aspects.

All in all, the experience allowed me to gain skills in audio and helped to give me the confidence to pursue all aspects of journalism.