Cronkite alum keeps supporters in mind while landing position with NBC

It is never too late to seek support as a student.

Jarrod Nelson had only one more semester remaining at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication when he applied for the Arizona Broadcasters Association (ABA) scholarship. He was an out-of-state student taking classes during the day and working a full-time information technology job at night to pay off student loans.

Because of ABA’s assistance and Nelson's perseverance, he is achieving his dream of working in the news associates program at NBC.

“Knowing that I had ABA’s support made me think, ‘if this group of people believes in me enough, I must have what it takes to go far in the broadcast industry,’” said Nelson, who was one of six selected by NBC from an application pool of 3,000.

“Whenever I am trying to move ahead in my career, I always keep in the back of my mind that there is a group of professionals who believes in me, and I do not want to let them down. So I always try my hardest to accomplish what I set out to achieve because I want to make myself and my supporters proud.”

Nelson first heard about the ABA scholarship through an email sent by the Cronkite School about scholarship opportunities. He filled out the general application and was surprised when he received an email back saying ABA wanted to meet with him.

ABA is a nonprofit corporation whose members are a combination of radio stations, television stations and associates. It is managed by a 10-member board of directors and headed by CEO Art Brooks. It is also a member of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations and supports the programs of the National Association of Broadcasters. ABA provides more than $35,000 annually in scholarships and workshops to students pursuing a degree in broadcasting. 

“They were very friendly, and I felt like I could open up and tell them how I wanted to be a news and entertainment reporter, and that I wanted to work on the business side of the media industry one day,” said Nelson. “I also told them about my past experiences and my upcoming internship at CBS News in New York.”

Nelson said that in the news associates program at NBC, participants do four three-month rotations working at "The Today Show," NBC Nightly News, the network desk, MSNBC and "Dateline." His first rotation is with "The Today Show Weekend Edition," working as a researcher.

“I am basically in charge of all the elements for the show,” Nelson said. “I make sure all the packages from our bureaus are fed to New York. I also cut all the b-roll and teases for the show. My job also includes helping producers. I will go out in the field with them and help shoot interviews. I also help transcribe interviews when needed.”

Nelson says his goals continue to evolve as he gains more work experience. However, he is certain he wants to work in broadcast television, specializing in news and entertainment.

“I am confident that no matter what path I take, I will be successful and it will be what I was meant to do.”