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Kateleigh Mills interviews Jamie Nelson. This midterm election will be the first time Nelson will vote in the statewide election. (Allison Herrera/NextGenRadio).

This week I got the opportunity to work with journalists and editors from all over the United States in the NPR NextGenRadio program. Before I was contacted by my mentor, Allison Herrera from The World, I knew I wanted to cover a minority group for the upcoming November midterm election.

I thought about doing a story about a Native American and luckily my mentor knew a couple of people in the Pawnee Nation.

On Monday we met at KOSU and spent the first moments having a blueprint planning session. I think that exercise helped me take an idea for a story and made it easier to think about for planning.

After we secured an interview with Jamie Nelson, a first-time voter in a non-tribal election, we made the trip to Pawnee, Oklahoma. It was about an hour-and-a-half drive on Tuesday, but the weather was beautiful. I drove with Allison and Hazel, the project’s illustrator. We rolled down the windows and learned about each other.

On Wednesday Allison and I went back to Pawnee to get more ambient sound and to talk to Jamie one last time. That night I went to dinner with several of the project’s leads in downtown Oklahoma City. It was great to get advice from them and for them to believe in me and my dreams.

Thursday was crunch time and I spent the whole day at KOSU Radio calling people for additional information for the story.

I’m happy to say that I have been able to make friends, and I have learned from my experience in just a short amount of time. I am thankful for all the help from everyone in this project. It was a good reminder that I love telling people’s stories, and I love what I do.

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