I pitched the story “Revolutionary Love” to the NPR Next Generation Radio program with the expectation that a mentor would help me make a story about two people in love become newsworthy without sensationalizing the details of their lives.

The narratives of queer and transgender people of color are very meaningful to me. However, I was so lost in all the intersections of identities, histories and politics that I couldn’t figure out the direction of the story, let alone come up with a four minute radio piece.

Before the program began, my mentor Liz Baier reached out to me to narrow the scope of the story to something more specific. I learned that knowing a lot about a subject and caring a lot about it doesn’t get you very far unless you focus the content to have a clear, accessible takeaway.

The Next Generation program made me a better journalist, a better listener and a better storyteller. I hope that other journalism students from marginalized backgrounds will take advantage of this weeklong adventure to hone their skills in reporting on what they care most deeply about. For me, it was the community that helped shape me.

Also, thank you so much to Liz! And Traci! And Doug! And the rest of the mentors who provided much needed guidance during this wild ride of radio production.