Master’s Alumni Profile: Nia Lucky G’22

Nia Lucky G’22

Newhouse Master’s Program: Television, Radio and Film
Current Position: Freelance Associate Producer at CBS News, Broadcast Marketing division

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it? 

In the spring semester, CBS News took a trip to Newhouse and held an information session. They allowed students to meet with an impressive roster of CBS representatives. Ironically, I never attended due to a prior engagement. Someone in my cohort, whom I now call a dear friend, spoke highly of me, and passed along my resume. Shortly after that moment, I went through the interview process. About a week after I put on my cap and gown and walked across the Dome turf, I received an offer and was officially employed! I like to think of CBS as my first big girl job. Before joining the company, I was heavily involved with Orange Television Network at Syracuse. I also held various internships, the most recent being a production intern at Seacrest Studios under the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. 

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

If you know the news industry, it is challenging to describe an “average day.” My role is to cater to the thirteen owned and operated stations and over two hundred affiliates at CBS Networks. 

The cool thing about my position is that I can work across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms — I primarily focus on “CBS Mornings” with Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil, Nate Burleson and “CBS Evening News” with Norah O’Donnell. I service network producers, executives and on-air talent to help improve the brand of CBS News programs and provide high-quality promotional content for the affiliates. 

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

One of my favorite courses at Newhouse was Mornings on the Hill with Professor Keith Kobland. The class emulates what I do in my day-to-day tasks at CBS. It is a broadcast and digital journalism course that is run like a newsroom and produces a 30-minute morning show. I was one of two students with a focus on television, radio and film. Professor Kobland ensured I was not an outlier and always worked with me. It was also exciting because each week, we would step into a new role, whether co-producing, anchoring or reporting on weather. 

Mornings on the Hill taught me to work on a deadline, understand AP ENPS and write anchor toss lines and teases. All of which I do now! 

a girl stands and smiles in a graduation cap and gown
Photo courtesy of Nia Lucky

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying? 

Do not put yourself in a box! Those random interests or passions can take you far. I had that a-ha moment during Professor Kelly Leahy’s course. It was the beginning of the summer session, also known as boot camp, and Leahy shared her well-versed career. I was amazed that she took what made her happy and made it into a profession. She leaned into her joy of children’s programming, technology and research. It might seem silly, but many people diminish one of their talents to make the other shine. You do not have to do that! Both can flourish simultaneously. 

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it? 

I will always love hard news, but entertainment news has my heart! I am an entertainment enthusiast and understand the power of being versatile. When I looked for a graduate program, I wanted to know if I could diversify my television, radio and film talents. I wanted to strengthen my on-camera presence, writing and editing and use film to advertise pop culture. I needed to know if I could incorporate all the elements I am passionate about in graduate school. Newhouse did not frown upon being divergent. The program understands the industry. 

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you? What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse? 

Always stay resume ready! I was active in Orange Television Network (OTN), WAER, and as an instructional assistant. I visited the Career Development Center to help incorporate my new roles into my resume, and I am so thankful I did! You never know who will pop by Newhouse and when your next opportunity will come. I was able to learn that first-hand! 

I wanted to strengthen my on-camera presence, writing, editing and use film to advertise pop culture. I needed to know if I could incorporate all the elements, I am passionate about in graduate school. Newhouse did not frown upon being divergent. The program understands the industry. 

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field? 

There is no clear-cut way to get to your end goal. I often asked Michael Schoonmaker, the television, radio and film department chair, and other professors for a how-to guide. I wanted to know what to do and how to get there. The lack of direction frightened me and still does at times. But — there is beauty to this concept. Career possibilities are endless, and no matter what lane you pick, exit you take, or U-turn you make, if you keep working toward your goal, you will get there! 

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far? 

A pinch-me moment was during my first Zoom meeting for the morning show’s rundown. I will never forget the gratitude I felt seeing news legends like Gayle King, Nate Burleson and Syracuse alum Scott MacFarlane, plus all the magic it takes to create programming. And yes, I texted my family group chat to share my awe! 

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

1. Graduate school is when it gets real. 

You are not taking courses to get a picture-perfect transcript. Take classes outside your element, become well-versed and use your professors as resources outside the classroom. These things will make you stand out when you go in for that job interview. 

2. Closed mouths do not get fed. 

Advocate for your career goals and communicate with your professors what you want from the course. Newhouse’s faculty and staff are exceptional and will tailor your curriculum, but they must know what your interests and passions are first. 

3. Have fun! 

Graduate School could be the last chapter of your collegiate career unless you plan to continue your education. Make friends in your cohort, and plan group outings. You will surprise yourself with how many relationships you make during your short time. 

4. Tap into the alum network! 

The Newhouse Mafia is real, and alums want to see you succeed. LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with current and previous Syracuse students. Send them a message and ask to pick their brain. You never know what you will learn or where the conversation will take you.