Interview with Adhiti Bandlamudi, NPR Kroc Fellow
What is an NPR Kroc Fellow?
Every year, NPR selects three journalists, early in their career, to spend a year at NPR. They spend three months at four separate rotations: working as a reporter on the National Desk, a producer on a weekend show, a web writer or producer on a desk or at a podcast, and a local reporter at a member station. After a year, the fellows have a clearer idea of what they want to do in public radio and have experience to match it.
What kind of experience did you get at NPR in Washington DC?
I got to work on the Newscast desk, the National Desk, and at Weekend All Things Considered with Michel Martin. It was such a great experience. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I was so surprised that top journalists like Korva Coleman, Hansi Lo Wang, and Ailsa Chang would take time out of their day to grab lunch or coffee with me, just to offer advice or career coaching. I had a great experience in DC!
Listeners may already recognize you because you’ve filed a lot of stories since arriving at CapRadio, many on the Stephon Clark shooting and its aftermath. Did you expect to hit the ground running like that?
Not at all! But I’m glad I was here to cover it. These stories can be difficult to tell, even for veteran reporters. As someone who still doesn’t have a lot of experience, these stories were particularly challenging. But I got great guidance and support from the CapRadio team and I’ve learned so much because of it. But as a side note, my fellowship has been riddled with breaking news. I covered Hurricane Maria and Harvey during my first week at the Newscast Desk. The Las Vegas shooting happened while I was at the National Desk and the Parkland shooting while I was at Weekend All Things Considered. It’s been overwhelming at times, but I keep learning a lot about breaking news coverage through it all.
What inspired you to go into journalism?
Quite honestly, I didn’t want to be a journalist until I heard the Radiolab podcast. I was driving with my mom one day and Radiolab’s “New Normal” episode played on the radio. As soon as I heard it, I was like “I have to do whatever this is!” I love hearing and telling stories and I think they’re the most powerful agent for change. I still can’t believe I get do this for a living.
What would listeners find interesting about the CapRadio Newsroom that you’ve observed?
I’m constantly fascinated with our morning meetings. At least once a week, we take time out of our morning meeting to discuss our coverage for that week. We talk about the stories that stuck out to us, the things we aren’t covering, and where we might have gone wrong. It’s so important for newsrooms to do this and I feel like CapRadio is one of the few places that actually does this.
Who is your favorite NPR or CapRadio journalist?
I have lots of favorite NPR and CapRadio journalists—too many to count! I’m so enamored, and sometimes intimidated, by all of the journalists at CapRadio. I love the work Julia Mitric and Ezra Romero do. I’m transfixed by the way they approach their stories and interview people. I also LOVE working with the Insight Team—with Jen Picard, Cory Drabble, and Beth Ruyak.