Nicole Todd G'15

March 1, 2016

“I don’t know anyone else who has had the experience or training that I was given. I got lucky and took it all to my advantage.”

Nicole Todd

Nicole Todd G’15 graduated from the Newhouse School’s broadcast and digital journalism (BDJ) program. She is now working as a reporter at WUTR/WFXV, the ABC and Fox affiliates (respectively) in Utica, New York.

How did you obtain your current position?

The news director from WDHN in Dothan, Alabama—which is where I interned as part of the  Washington Capstone—spoke with current employer, and I got an offer. I was thrilled because I am from Utica, and I had no idea that my first job out of school would have me working in my hometown. It’s a true privilege to be on air and have my friends and family be able to watch me do what I love. I’m still in shock!

What are your job responsibilities?

Find stories, shoot, edit, write VO/SOTs (voice over/sound on tape) and packages and help with any writing and editing the anchor needs.

Why did you select Newhouse for graduate studies?

I knew it was the best school to earn a master’s degree for reporting and I knew the one-year program would prepare me for a job in the field.

What was unique about your graduate program?

All of the hands-on experience. I don’t know anyone else who has had the experience or training that I was given. I got lucky and took it all to my advantage. Newhouse also offered so many extra meetings and meet-and-greets [with professionals in the field].  

Describe your most valuable/significant experience at Newhouse.

The Washington Capstone. The deadline, the time crunch, everything about being in one of the most well-known cities in the world was unbelievable.The internship and being on air with a Nexstar station while still a student was out of this world. I was in the Capitol Building on a daily basis. Now, I interact with my local senators and assemblymen all the time.

Is there a professor or class that you would recommend?

The ethics course taught by Don Torrance. It really impacted me due to the various news coming out of Utica at that time. I also really enjoyed the newscast course in the brand new studios. It was perfect training for real-world scenarios. Not all studios are as up-to-date as the Newhouse studios. For example, my station here in Utica still has camera operators. 

Best on-campus memory or activity?

I was able to do freelance work with ESPN when they were in town for home games. I was part of the sports communications emphasis with John Nicholson and he was a very tough professor. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now that he just wanted to show me what I was capable of doing. I met phenomenal people in the business and even traveled to North Carolina for ACC Media Day. I still miss these opportunities!

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Just to love the job. If you’re not all in, don’t bother. With the hours we work and the stories we cover on a daily basis, you have to enjoy the rush. For example, I was told to leave the property when I was covering a story. A company was cutting jobs, but announced they were adding them too. I showed up to get sound and I was told to leave. It’s stuff like that. I love the rush. I love asking the questions others might be too scared to ask. That’s what I have for advice. Be 110 percent all the time and push yourself to get the answers you need to make your story what the viewers need to hear. In school, they teach you all the technical skills and all the rules of the job. But, it’s you who has to go out there. Be vulnerable. Put yourself into different scenarios and don’t be scared of being told no. It happens daily for me.

I’ll end by saying, on my 15-minute commute to work from my parents’ house I sometimes think that this life can’t be true. I have the best job. It’s all worth it in the end. 

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