10 years strong: Decade-old NAZ Today continuing to offer hands-on experience for broadcast students

The only local news station in northern Arizona, NAZ Today, turns 10 years old this fall.

The Northern Arizona University program is student-run and gives workers the experience they need for jobs in television news, by working with experienced professionals in a real-world environment. Students, who earn credit by working 4-12 hours a week, can work in a variety of positions, including reporters, anchors, producers, directors, technical directors and multimedia journalists.

“Our program is unique in that it allows students to start during their freshman year working in a real newsroom, under real deadlines covering important stories in northern Arizona,” said Brian Rackham, director of the School of Communications Media Innovation Center.

Former students have gone to work for NBC’s “Today Show,” local TV sports, directing news in Phoenix and Denver, producing news in Phoenix and other TV newsrooms throughout the country.

Alumnae Tresa Tudrick and Yesenia Garcia both graduated in 2017 and now have jobs at news stations in Phoenix. Tudrick works as a sports reporter for Channel 12, and Garcia works for FOX 10. Both said NAZ Today was an impactful experience.

“NAZ Today definitely helped me get to where I am today,” Garcia said. “I truly believe the hands-on experience I got there, I could have not gotten it elsewhere. I was allowed to learn at my own pace and with great people around to help me.”

Throughout the years, students have won several awards while in the program in categories that include TV Sports Story and TV Hard News Reporting. Most recently, NAZ Today won first place for Student Newscasts by the Broadcast Education Association.

“Our students have shown that their work is competitive with some of the largest and best-known universities in the country, and we are grateful for this award,” Rackham said.

NAZ Today is on five times a week on UTV 62 and Flagstaff Cable 4. Viewers can also stream live from the NAZ Today website.

Tallie Valverde