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.  We are officially 20 years old

Our program is a one week, digital-first audio training "sprint" where we target current college students, those who are up to a full year post-graduation, graduate students, and early-career professionals. This program is designed to give competitively selected participants, who are interested in podcasting, narrative audio storytelling, radio reporting, and visual journalism, the skills and opportunity to find and produce their own multimedia story. Each selected participant is paired with a professional journalist and together they find, report, and produce a non-narrated story as well as use stills and videos that enhance their work.

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

Some of our alumni:

  • Erika Aguilar, Interim Director, Podcasts at KQED, San Francisco, CA
  • Nicole Beemsterboer, Senior Producer, Investigations Unit, NPR
  • Gus Contreras, Assn't Producer, All Things Considered, NPR, Washington DC
  • Audie Cornish, Co-Host, All Things Considered, NPR
  • Nancy DeVille, Network Producer, Youth Radio, Oakland, CA
  • Katherine Ellis, Communications Specialist, KUER, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Phyllis Fletcher, Senior Podcast Editor, American Public Media, 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, Arts & Education Reporter, KPCC, Pasadena, CA
  • Emmanuel Johnson, Producer, 1A, WAMU, Washington, DC
  • Stephanie Kuo, Senior Manager of Training, PRX, New York City, NY
  • Savannah Maher, Reporter, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming Public Radio.
  • Isabeth Mendoza, Producer, "Truth Be Told" podcast, KQED, San Francisco, CA
  • Laura Tsutsui, Producer, WESA, Pittsburgh, PA
Who is eligible?

We've made some pandemic related eligibility changes to the program so please read carefully.

First, we're now going to take applications from those who are a full year post-graduation. That is, if you (As an example) graduated in the Fall of 2019, you would be eligible for our program.

Another change:  To be selected, you must be attending or a recent graduate of a college or university within the state or in some cases, the region, of our sponsor. We want to help NPR stations find and develop local talent, who then, upon selection for our program, find the stories of people who live within the state or region of our sponsor.  If you have graduated from a college or university within the state or region of our sponsor and are taking classes. remotely, you can apply. Or, and read carefully here, if you are originally from the state of our sponsor, and going to school elsewhere and taking remote classes from your hometown that is within the state of our sponsor, you can apply. We will keep this strategy for the foreseeable future.

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 college podcasters apply as they have not had any formal training in audio journalism and production. Ultimately, this is about narrative storytelling with sound, digital media, and ideas.

We're looking for people who want to learn more about how to properly record and journalistically produce stories as digital-first media. You will need to have some kind of experience with digital media storytelling.  It doesn't have to be "radio." If you are a podcaster, editor, creative writer, visual journalist, etc. We want people who want to learn and practice the art of audio production. writing for digital and professional uses of visual media.   You will need to be someone who listens closely to what other people have to say and can recognize a good story when you hear one.  It is helpful if you have demonstrable storytelling experiences (broadcast or written)  and are eager to learn about or continue doing public media style journalism.

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?

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.

What is the cost?


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

BONUS:  Some of our projects offer a stipend to our selected students.  Yes, there are instances where 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 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 write a strong story about someone else? 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 check) 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 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've changed to an all-remote program.  This means each applicant needs to assess their technical setup as they will be working as a "bureau reporter."  That means 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.

We will continue to pair each participant is paired with a professional journalist who has been working remotely during this time and said mentor will be with a selected participant throughout the project. Successful applicants will need to be ready to, focus, listen and learn. And learning isn't solely about "tools" and 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.

What happens after you apply?

We work as quickly 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.  We try to be as transparent about our selection process as possible.

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

Looking into 2020

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, as well as our College/University funders.

“The connections I have made through the NextGen program have far outlasted the week I spent learning. You’re joining a community that will look out for you, support you and bring you up in an industry that desperately needs us.”

Katherine Ellis, KJZZ Phoenix, 2017