Nicole Griffith

Nicole Griffith

Multimedia Journalist, KDLT
Rapid City, SD
B.B.A. Media & Journalism, 2016

"My advice for them is to get involved. USD has more than 170 student organizations, extracurricular activities and clubs. It’s the skills you gain from the variety of experiences such as time management, learning to work with a variety of personalities and being able to come together for a common goal. These skills easily transfer over into the professional world, and in interviews I’m constantly asked about situational experiences. I wouldn’t have strong responses to these questions if it wasn’t for putting myself in situations that causes learning and earning."

Q&A with Nicole:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

I worked as a sports intern for KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities and my duties included shooting, writing, voicing, editing and conducting interviews for stories featuring the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Wild, Lynx, United FC, Timberwolves, University of Minnesota and local high schools. Then I headed to Orlando, Florida to participate in the Disney College Program. As a College Program member, my role was merchandise in the Magic Kingdom. I demonstrated effective customer service and interpersonal communication skills through assisting 1,000 guests each week through daily interactions. I utilized my time and made contacts to connect myself with those at ESPN whose parent company is The Walt Disney Company.

With some hard work and luck, I scored a production internship with the SEC Network in Charlotte, North Carolina. I spent this past spring learning about college football coverage and production by cutting show elements and creating shot sheets for highlights. While it was short, I realized my deeper passion for working in sports, and am continuing to pursue this profession. After spending the past year doing internships, I had the opportunity to come back to South Dakota as I landed a full-time job with KDLT. I’ve covered stories such as the Minneapolis Miracle NFL playoff game, Star Wars opening premiere and court cases. My end goal is to work for a professional sports team or college athletic department with their social media and digital content teams.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

USD’s influence has played a crucial role in my career path. I choose USD because there would be opportunities in and out of the classroom that would prep me for my professional career. It was also in state and my parents were alumni. The campus is large enough to provide plenty of opportunities to get involved in such as Greek life, intramurals and honor societies. The campus is also small enough where the student-faculty ratio is 18:1.

USD’s media and journalism department was influential as each professor took the time to get to know the students by name. It’s a professional atmosphere with a casual touch. Those in the department desired for us to succeed, and gave much of their time to do so. I spent seven semesters with Coyote News and learned skills from the advisors that I still hear in the back of my head today. I would constantly be reaching out regarding my resume, cover letter, and potential job opportunities. Having professors who not only teach but also encourage the decisions we make is influential in our career path.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

While I was in high school I was sitting on my couch watching the Winter X Games. The snowboarder hit a 540 jump on the halfpipe. Growing up in the Black Hills, I had learned to ski and snowboard but not proficiently, and after seeing that run I wish I could’ve been that snowboarder. Then a reporter was asking him questions. At that moment, I realized I can do that to get the best of both worlds. In sports broadcasting, there is the excitement of the game, match or event. I’m up close with the athletes and getting the reactions. Watching that follow up interview is when I realized I wanted to be a sports reporter. I knew I had to start in the small news markets. If I busted my butt I could be at ESPN by the time I was 28.

In April 2017, I hosted the Paul Finebaum halftime show, a two-minute segment where I interviewed guest host Peter Burns. We talked about rumors in college football and hot takes regarding Alabama’s quarterback Jalen Hurts. That Friday, I had accomplished my career goal. I was on ESPN before I was 28. I’m not saying my work is over or even perfect. With hard work plus a little bit of luck, you can make it. 

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

Get involved they said.

Every eager freshman hears these words. Moving my belongings up flights of stairs to 4th Richardson in 2012, it seemed like that’s how all conversations started and ended. Four years later as I prepared to walk across the stage at commencement, I knew why those words were so important.

I had completed eight semesters of Greek life, seven with Coyote News, seven as a Student Ambassador and engaged in various other organizations such as Big Pal Little Pal, Dakotathon, and Mortar Board. These organizations kept my days full and nights long, but without them, I wouldn’t be shaped into the strong alum that I am today.

As I declared Media & Journalism as my major on the first day of freshman year, I knew I came to USD with the goal of working in sports broadcasting. Talking with Media & Journalism Dept. Chair Dr. Michelle Van Maanen not only solidified my decision but she endlessly encouraged it. After learning and working beside the Media & Journalism Dept. through Coyotes News and Coyote Radio, I honed my reporting and producing skills while engaging with viewers on social media. I held positions starting as a production assistant my freshman year and moved my way up to producer by the time I was a junior. Being able to lead student-run organizations gave me unmatched skills that I’m able to utilize in my professional career. These media organizations also gave me the professional experience needed to better equip myself for job interviews and eventually a full-time job.

Joining Greek life is one of the top best life decisions I’ve ever made. Not just for the community and enjoyment, but also for the conflict and life experiences that come with living together with 60 other women for three years. I held positions such as Vice President and Director of Chapter Events. During my time, I scheduled and organized socials with other Greek houses, formals, and campus’s first ever Crush Party which included 350 people, assisted in social media managing to improve our image and to spread Alpha Phi. I also worked in a marketing campaign video that went viral, reached TSM and has 6,900 views. I’m not far removed from graduation, but Greek life gave me friendships that’ll cherish for years to come.

Another organization that I was involved in was Big Pal Little Pal. I was paired with 3rd grader Olivia who has a neat story. Being in the journalism field you pick up these unique features of someone who lives just down the road from you. Olivia is adopted. Her adoptive parents were trying for more than a decade to get pregnant and weren’t having any luck. Eventually, they decided to adopt, and only a few months ¬after Olivia joined their family Brenda, Olivia’s mom, found out she was pregnant with twins. Now, Brenda and Jim have three girls of their own all in the same grade. Talk about a full house! Olivia and her family gave me a home away from home while I was in school. We were able to go to the Omaha Zoo, public library and numerous bike rides. Olivia’s truly a little sister to me, and I credit it all to Big Pal Little Pal.

© 2017 University of South Dakota | 1110 North Dakota Street, Vermillion, SD 57069 | 800-521-3575 |