Lessons Learned at NPR

By Dean’s Intern Jordan Tobias at NPR

Jordan Tobias at NPRHello, everyone! I’m Jordan Tobias, and I’m an aspiring cultural reporter who just finished an internship at NPR.

At the network, I was the production intern for Weekend Edition. My duties included research assignments, booking guest and studios, conducting pre-interviews, writing scripts, and producing stories! Below are a few lessons I learned this summer:

1. Grasp hold of the type of journalist you aspire to be and the stories you want to share.
During my interview for my internship, I shared that I wanted to amplify the stories of individuals in traditionally marginalized groups. But, I made the mistake of sharing ideas that I thought my team would enjoy when I first started pitching. I didn’t receive approval to produce pieces until after I pitched stories that align with my vision of diverse storytelling. I can’t speak for other newsrooms, but NPR wants and looks for distinct stories, but you just have to be comfortable enough to pitch them.

2. Know that you are worthy of being in the room.
Imposture syndrome is real, and it doesn’t go away. I once spoke with a seasoned journalist who told me that her nerves still get the best of her before she goes on air. But, she discredits her fear with the affirmation I’m sharing with you.

3. Please network and maintain relationships.
Each journalist that I made sure to connect with mentioned that networking paved the way for better opportunities in their career. But, don’t meet someone, have a great conversation, and then assume that you’ve built a connection. Have a strategy for and commitment to making stronger connections – this is the key to success.

I look forward to seeing how the lessons I learned at NPR will contribute to my career journey.