Graphic design student explores new media environment at NPR

Photo courtesy NPR.

As a kid, Northeastern University senior graphic design major Geneva Cegelis routinely waited in the car to listen to the end of stories on NPR, which played on the radio when she drove around with her parents.

“I grew up with NPR,” Cegelis said. “We had our whole share of those driveway moments, when you just sit in your car because you want to hear the end of the story.”

Today, Cegelis is working on co-op in Washington, D.C., as an intern for NPR’s in-house graphic design agency, which creates posters, pledge letters, promotional materials and pillows adorned with the face of legendary broadcaster Carl Kasell, whose voice can be heard on the weekend quiz show “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”

Cegelis also works as design director and photographer on “Intern Edition,” a newsmagazine program run by more than three-dozen interns. She helped design the program’s website, developed its logo and branding and has assisted with reporting on original content through a variety of media that transcend radio and print.

“‘Intern Edition’ is an opportunity for interns to work on their own stories, to go out and do a story on whatever they choose,” Cegelis said. “It gives us a chance to create our own mini-NPR.”

Cegelis beat out hundreds of applicants to earn her internship at NPR, which runs from September through the end of the December. She arrived in public radio during a tumultuous time for the network. Last spring, NPR came under heavy fire for its handling of the firing of commentator Juan Williams. The media organization was also the target of a push in Congress to strip its federal funding.

At the same time, NPR has continued to evolve into more of a digital company that provides audio, video, text and photos over the Internet and through Web applications. It went so far as to drop its full name, National Public Radio, in the summer of 2010.

“Increasingly, NPR is not just radio,” Cegelis said. “We are reaching people through different mediums now, more than ever before.”