Finding, coaching and training public media's next generation.


Welcome to Next Generation Radio from NPR. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

What is Next Generation Radio?

NPR's Next Generation Radio was formally established in 2000.

Our program is a one-week, digital-first audio training "sprint" We have adjusted with the times are now targeting a range of people who are primarily interested in learning digital-first media with a focus on audio narratives. This program is designed to give competitively selected participants, who are interested in podcasting, audio storytelling, and written and visual journalism, the skills and opportunity to find and produce their own multimedia stories. Each selected participant is paired with a professional journalist and together they find, report, and produce a 3:30-4:00 non-narrated audio story.  Selected participants will write a 500-700 word piece while gathering stills and videos that enhance their work.

In 2020, with the pandemic,  we went remote which means selected participants report from where they are. Those chosen need to be attending a school or living within the state or the region of our sponsor.

Some of our alumni:

  • Erika Aguilar, Director, Podcasts at KQED, San Francisco, CA
  • Nicole Beemsterboer, Enterprise Storytelling Supervising Producer, NPR
  • Gus Contreras, Assn't Producer, All Things Considered, NPR, Washington DC
  • Audie Cornish, Co-Host, All Things Considered, NPR
  • Nancy DeVille, Storytelling Project Manager, "The Atlantic," Oakland, CA
  • Katherine Ellis, Communications and Marketing, Manager, KUER, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Phyllis Fletcher, Senior Editor for Podcasts, New York Times, Seattle, WA
  • Jason Fuller, Assistant Producer, All Things Considered, NPR, Washington DC
  • Ericka Cruz Guevarra, Producer, "The Bay" podcast, KQED, San Francisco, CA
  • Lee Hill, Executive Producer, "The Takeaway," WNYC, New York City, NY
  • Carla Javier, Engagement Reporter, KPCC, Pasadena, CA
  • Stephanie Kuo, Director of Training, PRX, New York City, NY
  • Savannah Maher, Reporter, Marketplace, Albuquerque, NM
  • Isabeth Mendoza, Producer, "Truth Be Told" podcast, KQED, San Francisco, CA
  • Laura Tsutsui, Producer, WESA, Pittsburgh, PA
  • David Rodriguez, Engagement Producer, Center for Investigative Reporting, Oakland, CA
Who is eligible?

We're broadening the eligibility for consideration. We see the trends.

In school?  Yes

Graduated? Yes

Didn't go to college but have worked in media?  Sure.

Launched a podcast without formal training?  Sure

Changing careers and want to work in pubmedia?  Yup

Specifically, Next-Gen projects with Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Oregon are "statewide."  Meaning, applicants can apply as long as they are currently living within those states.  For OPB, we'll accept applications from SW Washington State.

We have two projects in California:
"Cap Radio" is for applicants in Northern California, the Central Valley, and Southern Oregon.

USC is for applicants in Southern California, meaning "Greater LA," Orange County, and the Inland Empire.  Currently cooking an idea with San Diego, but it's not set yet.

University of Nevada, Reno is exclusive to students or recent graduates of that school.

Our inaugural Saint Louis Public Radio project will have broader geographic eligibility given STL is on the border of two states. We are looking to support that station by developing people who are in or near STL

Finally, in all cases, we'll take applications from those who have been out of school for a few years or those who are podcasting, creating media, and never went to college.

Some other things:

We have had non-journalism majors in our projects.  We have had communications, public relations, strategic communications, business, history, English, and science majors in our projects. Recently, we have had early-stage podcasters apply as they have not had any formal training in audio journalism and production.

Ultimately, NextGen Radio is a teaching project about short-form,  narrative storytelling, and contextual journalism. We are not focused on daily news reporting.

When can we apply?

Answer:  Now!

Instead of waiting for an application window to open for a specific project, you can now apply to any of our projects at any time.

To be clear, while you can apply at any time, we will continue to close application windows on a specific date.
Also, be sure to follow @nextgenradio on Twitter, Instagram as well as "like" the official "NPR Next Generation Radio" FB page for all the latest information.

Also, the application is online only and there are two rounds.  We'll choose 8-10 "Finalists" for each project and the finalists will have an assignment to complete with a deadline. From there, we will choose 5-6 participants and two alternates.

What's the time commitment?

This is VITAL for both selected applicants and professional staff.

Please make sure you are able to fully commit to the project.  Generally, the program begins late afternoon on the Sunday of the project week and the program ends around 2 PM the Friday afternoon of the same week.

That means you are willing and able to work all day, each day of the project and if you cannot do that, you shouldn't apply.  We have made exceptions to those who are taking classes or have assignments due.  Not all professors are accommodating. Don't let that stop you from trying to get into this program.

Our staff and mentors also need to be committed to this work for the week.  You cannot do your regular job AND this project.

What is the cost?

Nada - Nothing.

That's right.  It's FREE. There is NO fee for the program.

BONUS:  We're also offering a stipend to our selected reporters.  We'll PAY YOU to work with us.

Who is a successful applicant?
  • We have an expectation that the successful applicant will have some qualitative experiences with digital media. That is, she/he/they will have produced and/or reported in some way across various formats. Additionally, we want to further the development of future public media journalists who have a pulse on their communities. Can you recognize a good story? Can you interview? Can you produce an audio story and you're not in it? Can you write a strong story about someone else? And, someone different from you? Can you use various elements of digital media to tell a complete story? Are you patient/diligent?
  • We have an expectation that the successful applicant will have demonstrable and qualitative experiences in uses of social media content and distribution platforms for journalism. Successful applicants will be active (in a positive way. Yes, we comb your account) on social media and demonstrate a level of savvy in how to use it appropriately. Do you share original content? Whom do you follow on social media and what do you learn from them?
  • We have an expectation that this project will be diverse. Next Generation Radio's professional teams are a true reflection of America and hence we'll expect a diverse collection of participants too. Racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, and LGBTQIA diversity matter to us. So do educational, economic, religious, and geographic diversity.
  • Fundamentally, this is a journalism project, not an advocacy project. If anything, we are advocating for and teaching journalism. Know the difference before applying.
  • As we have become strong partners with public media stations, national media, and journalism entities, we are looking to have our training projects represented by competitively selected participants and professional staff from communities that have not been historically represented in media and especially public media. We've started using the term "UNserved" as opposed to "UNDER-served."
How should a successful applicant prepare for this project?

We will remain mostly remote. Staff who are fully vaccinated and want to travel, we will work that out.  In 2021, we transitioned from all remote to having 5-6 people on-site.   And, we have had instances where mentors and mentees have worked in person.  There's no template.  We make these decisions on a project-by-project basis.

Also, each applicant needs to assess their technical setup as they will be working as a "bureau reporter" as selected applicants will report from where they live.  Applicants will need to have access to and a decent amount of knowledge on how to interview/record in the field as well as how to save and share digital media files via their own lap or desktop. Not to worry.  Our mentoring teams have deep experiences in the myriad of ways there are in getting the work done and on a deadline. No one drowns. No one.

Successful applicants will need to be ready to, focus, listen and learn. And learning isn't solely about tools/technology. You still have to talk to people. It's also about building relationships and a deeper understanding of how to have someone tell you their story. We strongly suggest you spend time on our "Past Projects" page, reviewing the work of those who have been in the program. Also, if selected, you'll have a tremendous career-building opportunity with a room full of mentors ready to help you that week and in the future.  Recognize this as a rare opportunity and prepare accordingly.

Also, we have the expectation that participants will conduct himself/herself/themselves as a professional journalist who is highly collaborative, is focused, respectful, and eager to learn. Moreover, we will not hesitate to remove anyone (student or mentor) from this project if her/his/their conduct is unprofessional and detrimental to our program and their school/station.  Remember, public media is a small town with most of us two degrees of separation from each other.  Managing your own reputation is critical to success and we work hard to maintain the reputation of this program. Regardless of working conditions, our staff will be ready to roll and we expect all of our applicants to also act professionally.

Finally, we are completely flexible when it comes to working remotely or in person. We are strong supporters of the ability to work from home. No one is required to be physically present.  It's an option.  If in-person you will need to be fully vaccinated. No exceptions.

What happens after you apply?

We work as quickly and as transparently as possible, to notify those selected for the program and do so within three or four days after the close of the application window.  Each applicant will get an email from us alerting them to our specific timeline.  We have heard for years that once one applies to a program, that they often don't have any idea when decisions are made.

Where can I find out more about this project and its history?

Here are some background articles on the program:

How Next-Gen helps with career-building

And again, you can email us at any time:

We STRONGLY recommend you closely review our past projects BEFORE deciding to apply.

Finally, you can stay up with us by following @nextgenradio & #nprnextgenradio on Twitter and @nextgenradio on Instagram.

You can also watch this video for more information about what we’re looking for:

If you have additional questions, you can write to us here: 

Thank you for your interest in Next Generation Radio from NPR, NPR Member Stations, and our College/University funders.

“I applied to the NextGen project excited for a week of being coached on interviews, sound mixing, and storyline development. A year later, our project editor became my NPR bureau chief and we worked together again. Now, I’m hiring other NextGen alums to fill out new beats in my newsroom.”

Nicky Ouellet, Early Career Fellow MPR 2016