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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Alyssa Nakamoto

Class of 2015, Bachelor's

Alyssa Nakamoto is a produceer at THV11 in Little Rock, AR. 

After graduating from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast & Digital Journalism in 2015, she was accepted into the highly-competitive Tegna (formerly Gannett) Talent Development Producing program. She trained as a producer at KUSA 9News in Denver, CO. 

While at USC, Alyssa was Sports Director, a producer, reporter, and sports anchor at Annenberg TV News. In her final semester at ATVN, Alyssa created and executive produced the first cross-convergence production at the Annenberg Media Center - Sports SCene. In college, Alyssa also interned at Time Warner Cable SportsNet/Sports Net LA, KABC-TV, and CBS2/KCAL9. 

Alyssa is a lifelong USC football fan, and passionately follows the Dodgers, Lakers, and Kings. 

For more info on Alyssa and her work, visit her website:


What are your duties in your current position?:

I produce the morning show - find and select stories, format the rundown, write every script, make captions for supers, communicate with talent and directors. 

Where did you work before, and what jobs did you do?:

I spent 6 months training to be a producer through a program at 9News in Denver. I produced the mid-day shows (11 am/noon) a few days a week, and content produced for all 9News shows and platforms. I also wrote anchor packages a couple of times.

What new skills do you think journalists need? :

Know how to do it all - shooting, writing, editing, and know how to write for all platforms (broadcast, web, social media). The more you have to offer a station, the better! 

There's also a huge shift toward audience engagement. Learn how to interact with viewers on social media. Write great teasers for stories, be creative with video on social platforms. There's a whole other audience to reach, other than those who watch your newscast...and you have a lot of competition as people are scrolling through social media. Do something to stand out!

What are the top three skills journalism students should learn in college?:

1. Write, write, write! Writing is EVERYTHING in this field. Whether you're in front of the camera or behind it, you still need to know how to write, and write for every medium. 

2. Always put accuracy first, and make ethics a priority. 

3. Learn how to take constructive criticism. Learn how to deal with the brutal honesty now, because it's something you're going to face your entire career.

What were your duties at ATVN? :

Sports Director, Producer, Reporter, Sports Anchor, Creator/Original Executive Producer of Annenberg Media Center's Sports SCene

How did ATVN prepare you for your career?:

ATVN gave me the skills I needed to succeed in broadcast journalism. It's as close to the real world as you can get, but you CAN make mistakes! When I started my job, I was already prepared. I knew what good writing and good content was, and knew how to complete tasks with deadline pressure. ATVN also helped me grow as a leader and person, which has helped me be assertive and confident in the workplace. 

What is your advice to aspiring journalists?:

I have a lot, so bear with me:

  • Always be willing to take feedback. An open mind, and willingness to improve, will take you far. 
  • Also keep an open mind about many things - station location and work hours. I never thought I'd live in the South, but I like it so far. And it's just part of the job that you'll work weird hours and work more hours than you expected. Get used to it now.
  • Always take initiative. Ask what needs to be done, don't just wait around to be assigned.
  • Learn about EVERY aspect of journalism, and challenge yourself. Take 402 and 403 - regardless of if you want to be a reporter or producer. You learn SO much about the industry from both of these courses. 
  • Get as much out of ATVN as you can. Volunteer for positions beyond your required shift. Ask questions, challenge yourself.
  • Intern outside of ATVN. Also, while LA and New York may seem like ideal places to intern, my biggest regret in college was not interning at a smaller market. Spend your summer at a medium or small market. Chances are, they'll have more for you to do, and it'll be a great opportunity to show off your skills. Who knows? It could turn into something after college.
  • Another good trick that helped me and some of my classmates was visiting stations. If you're on vacation somewhere (or if there's a market you really like), reach out to the news director beforehand and see if you can arrange a visit. Ask them questions about their station, talk about your experience, bring your resume and show them some work samples. Make sure to send them a (hand-written) thank you note, and follow up. You never know what it can turn into.
  • And lastly, away from the technical skills - be friendly, be nice to everyone, be assertive, and don't give up! It can be hard, but stick with it. Most of all, WORK HARD! Hard work will take you far. Even if you aren't the strongest writer, shooter, etc., as long as you're willing to take the steps to improve, you're in great shape!

What should graduates keep in mind when negotiating their first job?:

Don't just take a job because you're grateful that they're considering you! Know your worth! If you're not sure of a good starting salary, reach out to alums, talk to advisors or professors, or do some research online. Also, know what you're getting into before you get too deep in the interview process. Do research on the city (cost of living, rent, ethnic make up, etc) and station, know if it'll set you up for your ultimate career goal, make sure you like the managers, producers, reporters, etc. Even visit the station and city, if you get a chance. After all, YOU will be the one living there for 2 years. Make sure you can bear it.

Which software programs do you use at your current job? including newsroom software/editing software/content management system:

ENPS, Edius, Presto (for web), Axis graphics

Any other comments?:

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want any advice! I'm more than happy to help out an ATVN'er. 

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