Late February

I was an hour or so from hitting the “send” button announcing on Instagram the selected cohort for our project, scheduled for March, at the University of Southern California. Dr. Amara Aguilar, a USC professor and one of our long time team leaders, emailed to say, “Hold up.” She said the dean, director, and faculty were deciding whether to shut down the entire school because of the spread of the coronavirus. A few minutes later, Amara wrote back saying the school was closed and students headed off-campus, not to return. We were told to postpone the project. …

Last year on LinkedIn, I wrote about “winning.” That from 2013 to 2016, our digital media training for college students and early-career media professionals found the very people whom public media needs to nurture to remain an engaged, respected and inclusive place for creating and distributing journalism and media. 2016 was a great year for our program.

Now, truth, journalism and journalists are all under assault. To say that 2017 has been difficult doesn’t begin to explain it all.

A year ago, I decided two important things: First, Next Generation Radio is successful. What we’re doing is working, so we…

“I think what we do is reinforce what they’ve wanted to do or open their eyes to what they could do.”

We’ve completed four project so far in 2016. In January, we collaborated with NPR station KJZZ in Phoenix AZ with a project for students. We were there again in February with a camp for early-career professionals. In March, it was the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and in May we were at the University of Nevada, Reno.

We’ll take a break in June and then in July, we’ll be at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta in partnership…

“I think what we do is reinforce what they’ve wanted to do or open their eyes to what they could do.”

We had just finished yet another successful one-week student reporting project, this time at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication. As our group debrief ended, a colleague turned to me, smiling widely, said “Did you know that each person featured in the stories was someone of color? Was that intentional?” I gave a puzzled look, saying, “You know, I hadn’t noticed. We’ve never set out with that in mind. But, I mean, were in…

NPR’s “Next Generation Radio” is off and running here in 2016 as we just completed another project, this time at member station KJZZ in Phoenix. We’ll be back there again next month, working with another collection of professionals and this time, five people who have have just started their professional careers in public media. I’m very proud to say we could have as many as eight, digital-first reporting camps around the US this year.

For the just ended January project, we worked with five college students, one of whom just received her graduate degree. Each of the five students has…

I’ve spent 20+ years in professional development focused on younger people interested in careers in public media journalism. During the last few years, I’ve acted more aggressively in trying to find actionable processes that can solve the puzzle of diversifying the workplace with tighter focus on hiring and recruiting in my industry, which is public media. This focus has only lead to more questions and probably ones I should have been asking years ago:

  • How many types of diversity are there?
  • How many can you name?
  • And what does this have to do with whom you hire in your organization?

Doug Mitchell

Project Founder/Director, NPR’s Next Generation Radio; Board Chair, Center for Collaborative Journalism; Member, Board of Trustees, American Press Institute

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