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The Next Generation Radio Project is a five-day digital journalism and audio training project. Our hybrid (some people in-person, some WFH) program is designed to give competitively selected participants the opportunity to learn how to report and produce their own non-narrated audio piece and multimedia story. Those chosen for the project are paired with a professional journalist who serves as their mentor for the week.

Professional Staffing

NPR’s Next Generation Radio projects are hybrid (remote and in-person). Our selected cohort will report from where they are. Staffing varies with each project, we don’t have the exact same staff each time. Still, project but mentors fit into these general categories.

Project Founder and Director: Doug Mitchell

Assembles and leads the staff, manages sponsorships and project budgets, oversees co-community managers, and advises the NextGen community, and the leadership team. Manages relationships with NPR and NPR-sponsoring stations. Mentors/coaches/support alumni and professional staff with their career development.

Managing Editor

Lead organizer during project week of all editorial content and works across platforms. Collaborates with digital editors and sound designers, overseeing daily operations. Works with reporter-mentor teams to turn ideas into non-narrated audio pieces. Using various digital tools, creates and manages workfow, sets deadlines. The ME is an experienced coach and teacher while being an editor, helping our selected cohorts achieve their best work.

Digital Editors

Lead reporting teams in the process of conceptualizing their story as a fully unifed, digital audio, written, and visual presentation. Supports reporters through the writing process by providing feedback on drafts, as well as incorporating the narrative into the text. Meets with reporting teams individually to review content (audio, text, photos, graphics, additional media) visualize options for formatting the fnal piece and assess further steps toward completion. Ensures reporters focus on the fully formed piece, not only on audio. Assists managing editor(s) with reviewing social media content and visual journalists in evaluating photos and captions. Understands WordPress and works with reporting teams, visual journalists, and developer on page layout. Reviews the project website to ensure formatting, grammar, syntax, and content are all accurate and visually appealing

Visual Journalists

Equips reporters to visually tell their stories by sharpening their skills in photography and video. Works one-on-one to develop and plan ideas in meetings before and during the project so that visuals are well thought out. Assists with technical gear setup and troubleshooting. Ensures reporters meet deadlines. Sequence and finalize media within the web story with each team; content management — edit, organize, and layout visuals onto WordPress at the end of the week with web editors/developers.

Sound Engineers


  • Reviews tech surveys and initiates contact with all reporters about tech needs
  • Coordinates gear for the week with station and mentors
  • Oversees finding audio apprentice candidates


  • Communicates with audio team members about deliverables
  • Coordinates engineers to attend interviews, for help with individual students, and engineer-reporter pairings
  • Creates presentation on Audition and gathers slides from other engineers for delivery on Tuesday and records presentation
  • Maintains audio production schedule for the week


  • Uploads video recordings of “mixing” tutorials and presentations and shares with reporters
  • Ensures storage of all mix sessions and audio fles for a possible podcast

Editorial Illustrators

Illustrates student reporters’ portraits prior to the program. Shadows interviews to create multiple sketches for the article. Adjusting the mood and style of the illustrations according to the tone of the story. Each illustrator creates 1 to 2 editorial illustrations and a banner illustration during the project. Profciency with digital illustration tools is required.


Sets up the project website before the program. Sets the look and feel for each individual project, uses ready-made themes, and installs any necessary plugins for the project. Makes sure all assets are properly loaded onto the site (video, audio, photos). Consult with the reporting teams to see if there are any opportunities for diferent story displays or embeddable digital elements. Assists with building the stories or sets up access so reporters can build stories. Proficiency with WordPress and using theme builders (or the built-in blocks editor) is a must; knowledge of HTML and CSS is a plus.

Project Mentors

These are professional journalists, who think digital and have a range experience. We have a lot of alumni who were once mentees, who return to us as mentors. Mentors are paired, 1:1, with a competitively selected applicant by the project director at least two weeks before the program begins. They are the main point of communication for the mentee and explain project expectations. Throughout the week, mentors handle any issues or questions the mentee may have – from refining the pitch to crafting interview questions and helping with logistics to putting the story together. Most importantly, mentors make sure the mentees meet their daily deadlines. Mentors should be aware that each mentee and their experience/skillsets are different, so the amount of guidance they need will vary. Mentors give the first edit on all content, including the focus statement, the audio story, and the digital story and provide specific feedback and clear direction. They are also a motivator, offering support and encouragement throughout the project. Mentors give constructive feedback to mentees throughout the week. On the last day, mentors set up a feedback session with the mentee to refect on the week. Ideally, the mentor and mentee stay in touch and continue to have a relationship after the project is done.

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.

“The best thing about the Next Generation Radio project is that even though it’s only one week, packed with real-world reporting and audio production experiences, the skills you gain and the connections you make are designed to last a lifetime. Once you’ve proven yourself, you become a part of the NextGen family, having that support and mentorship throughout your journalism career.”

Michelle Baker, University of Nevada, Reno 2019