By Mary Catalfalmo

Next Generation Radio was my first foray into non-narrated audio storytelling, and I learned so much professionally and technically (shoutout to Adobe Audition) from the entire Next Gen team and my mentor, Megan Verlee, of Colorado Public Radio.

Like a couple of my other peers, I graduated from journalism school on a Sunday and was on my way to reporting and producing a non-narrated audio piece less than 24 hours later. I wasn’t stressed about this, though; I had scheduled times to record natural sound and do the interview with my profile subject weeks earlier.

Except that life didn’t play along with my schedule. The interview had to be pushed back a day, which put the story behind schedule, with nothing my mentor or I could do. So we worked with what sound we already had and looked for all the work we could get done without having the major component of the story complete.

The silver lining of that situation was actually the time crunch itself. We started organizing and plotting out the audio story immediately after doing the interview and finished the thing on time – early actually. I learned valuable lessons in terms of workflow, especially the value of 1) setting deadlines to not spend too long on any one task and 2) doing your homework.

The whole group spent most of the first morning on design thinking. Those exercises showed me how useful it is journalistically to think deeply about your intentions and the motivations behind your editorial decisions. I also think this falls under the theme of controlling what you can.

Even though it seems simple, this approach to documenting ideas and thinking deliberately about the decisions I want to make and why I want to make them is something I want to use with future projects. I believe it will help me begin with a clearer vision and intention to craft stories that contribute to public dialogue and discussion.

Published by Mary Catalfalmo

Mary loved to write ever since middle school in Buffalo, NY. At SU, her passion for storytelling extended into the digital world. She graduated in May 2019 with a dual degree in newspaper and online journalism & English and textual studies. She was also a staff writer for The Daily Orange and worked in the news section for two semesters. As she moves into her career, she wants to use the multimedia skills she’s gained from Next Gen Radio to create more compelling news features on health, environment and education.