Putting Things in Perspective

Lindsay give a thumbs up about NPR

By Dean’s Intern Lindsay Sandoval at NPR

It was 3:58, two minutes until my first official interview for National Public Radio’s Education Desk. I jog into the recording studio behind my desk.

I follow a little list of steps my fellow intern had given me. Set the soundboard, open the MTE program on the desktop. Dial the number and hit record.

“Chris?” I ask. I can’t hear him! He’s a high school teacher from Ohio who draws comics about the funny moments of classroom life and the next profile in our “Secret Lives of Teachers” series. My recording won’t go on the radio, but I’ll need it to help draft my first article.

“Chris?” Now I’m panicking. I’m not much of a tech whiz, but thankfully NPR is home to many. Frantically I call out to Sami, a producer nearby. “I can’t hear the guy over the phone!” I yelp, fearing I’ve blown my first big gig.

Sami walks in the studio. “Did you try putting on the headphones?” he asks, patient as a third-grade teacher. I throw them over my ears.

“Lindsay? You there. It’s Chris.” I see his voice spike in an audio file on the screen, which means our interview is recording. Phew!

Growing up, my teachers told me it was good thing that I was never afraid to ask questions. I’m sure I annoyed plenty of my classmates then (and still do, who am I kidding), but I’ve found curiosity is the most important quality of a journalist. You have to be willing to admit that you don’t know everything — heck, anything — and work hard to understand the issue as best as you can.

But it’s precisely this insatiable learning that makes the job so fun. Education covers everything from hard news to trend stories to profiles, allowing me to write from all kinds of perspectives on all kids of topics. You also get to talk to truly inspiring people, and I can’t express what an honor and a privilege it is to tell their stories.

Chris, the teacher I mentioned above, recently reached out to me saying he’s scored two speaking gigs since my profile came out. What’s more, some generous NPR fans found his Amazon Teacher Wish List and bought school supplies for his students.

While balancing classes and interning, like so many of us do, it’s easy to burn out. I’ve had days when the commitments seem to overwhelm me and I wish I could just stop to take a breath.

But I’ve also had moments like this when I realize why I fell in love with writing in the first place.