I Was A Digital Guinea Pig

by Miguel Arucan

I never thought to enter an atmosphere mainly focused on radio before, until the Dean reached out to our class and encouraged us to apply. And so I did. "Why not, Miguel?" I said to myself. Well, a few weeks later, I got the acceptance letter. "Why not" turned into, "What am I gonna do?" Again, I did not see myself as one who reports. While I am fascinated with writing stories, I solely saw myself providing visuals for stories, whether it was photography, videography and graphic design.

I researched more on the projects from the previous Next Generation Radio bootcamps. I reached out to the previous applicants as well, and while they said it was exciting, I was still nervous as it was new to me. I remember someone told me that the team chose me and that I was overqualified to be in the boot camp.

The first day of boot camp, the managing editor told me that I was the first "interactive/digital producer" for the program. Wait, what? This exists in NPR? In a newsroom? She said, "You are different, you are going to do other things that the reporters won't do." At first, I was a little bit nervous, but she mentioned creating "web goodies" that included making charts, graphs, video, audio and photos. Overall, I was assigned to contribute to building the website with a web team. I was elated at this point. She was speaking my language!

So for the past few days, I've seen myself creating media assets that I never thought was crucial to the newsroom. I was also shooting video of the reporters doing their tasks. "Ashley! Sorry, but I need an audiogram for today," someone would say. And inside my head, I was excited to create another visual. Truly, it was stressful, but it was the type of pressure that I enjoy. It was the right kind of stress! It was fascinating to see that the reporters depended on the web/design team to present their story in a captivating way. Because social media is changing the way media reaches out to the audience, I learned that it is essential for visual journalists to be a part of the team.


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