Journalism Alumna shares her path to becoming a TV news reporter

Conner Board (’16) shares experiences at the Reynolds School of Journalism that set her up for success after graduation

Conner Board on the news set at her station in Seattle

Journalism Alumna shares her path to becoming a TV news reporter

Conner Board (’16) shares experiences at the Reynolds School of Journalism that set her up for success after graduation

Conner Board on the news set at her station in Seattle

For many students, the college experience is all about learning new things and meeting new people. For 2016 journalism graduate Conner Board, college showed her that a career in news would allow her to meet new people, tell their stories and serve her community for the rest of her career.

“Seeing that news gave you that opportunity every single day was one reason I knew being a local news reporter would be a good career choice for me,” Board explained.

Conner reporting on camera from a snowy scene.

Like many TV news reporters, Board’s career has taken her across the country. From Pocatello, Idaho to Huntsville, Ala. and Austin, Texas, Board has produced and reported stories, and anchored the morning and evening news. Today, Board is a news reporter for KING 5, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, one of the biggest media markets in the country.

Looking back at her time at the Reynolds School, Conner Board shares the path she took to becoming a TV news reporter.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a reporter? If not, how did you come to find that career?

"I knew I wanted to be some kind of television reporter from a very young age and knew in high school that I wanted to go to a college where I could get a degree in Journalism. I am a Reno local, and my mom had set up a tour of the Reynolds School when I was a senior in high school. On that tour is where I met Paul Mitchell, who showed us around the building and told us about the program. I had always enjoyed meeting new people, serving the community and learning people’s stories, so journalism always felt like the perfect career path for me. I am extremely thankful I ended up at the Reynolds School. Due to the hands-on experience, guidance and community the school provided, I knew I had made the right choice in choosing journalism."

Were there any skills or experiences from the Reynolds School that you found to be helpful in your current career or job?

"The number one thing I am thankful for is the hands-on experience I gained at the Reynolds School. I did this through the TV news classes with professors like Erin Breen and Nico Colombant. I also gained experience through anchoring, reporting and shooting video for some of the Reynolds School’s news productions, including “The Brush Up” with Nico Colombant, “Wolf Pack Week” and “Wolf Pack What.”

I also did multiple internships that helped me tremendously when going into my career field, so I am very thankful the RSJ required at least one internship. I also took away insight gained in Media Ethics with Alison Gaulden, which is a very important class for any journalist. I think it was incredibly helpful having professors who had worked in these career fields and had real life experience."

Can you share an impactful experience or memory that influenced your career path?

"One of my internships was at KTVN 2 News in Reno. There I had the chance to shadow several reporters and get an inside look into the business of TV news. I loved how you never knew what each day would bring. When I would gather with the news staff for the morning meeting, they would pitch and discuss story ideas for the day. I was always so intrigued and excited about what the day would bring, and which story I would get to shadow a reporter on. I have always been a person who thrives on learning new things and meeting new people, so seeing that news gave you that opportunity every single day was one reason I knew being a local news reporter would be a good career choice for me."

What inspired you to get your master’s degree in legal studies?

"I was inspired to get my master’s degree in legal studies because I found that nearly everything we report on in local news has some sort of legal angle to it. I wanted to make myself as knowledgeable as possible on legal topics to ensure that I ask the best questions and best serve my community as a reporter. I have also always had an interest in the legal system, much of which came from my involvement with the Reynolds School’s Nevada Media Alliance where I gained experience covering the Nevada Legislature. I also had the opportunity through the RSJ to cover the caucus for the 2016 Presidential Election, which made me even more interested in politics. This degree helped me with both reporting on the Texas Legislature during my time in Austin and now being on the City Politics beat for my current job in Seattle, Washington."

What are some highlights and downsides to being a reporter?

"There are both highlights and downsides to being a reporter, as there are with any job. But to me, the highlights far outweigh any downsides. The downsides would be that you can work a variety of challenging schedules, sometimes having roles where your workday starts at 3 a.m., or where you work on weekend days or holidays. Another downside is that you will frequently cover tragic situations. It can be a heavy job at times. But the highlights of this career make the hard days and long, odd hours worth it.

The biggest highlight to me is having a job that makes a difference and has a purpose. Reporters have the ability to give people a voice and to make sure people’s stories and perspectives are heard. In tragedy, we can help families share who their loved ones were with the community and when there is wrongdoing, we can make sure people and government entities are held accountable. Our job can be hard, but it has a purpose.

Another highlight is that every day is different, you get to meet new people, go to new places, and learn new things every single day. You will be exposed to things and people that will broaden your view of the world and will have experiences you would never have if you were not a reporter."

What advice have you received in your career that you have found to be valuable?

"There are two pieces of advice that helped me tremendously. First, early on in your career you should say “yes” to as many opportunities and experiences as possible. Gaining as much experience as possible with many different roles and skills will make you a more well-rounded journalist. Second, and most important, you are a human before you are a journalist. While a situation or breaking news event may be your story assignment for the day, it could be the worst day of a person’s life. Approach them with empathy and understanding, you are a human before you are a journalist. Empathy and humanity come before your story."