Reporter Kiara Smith | SCSU JRN ’21

Kiara Smith is a reporter for WWLP-22News in Springfield, Mass. Smith graduated from Souther in 2021 with a B.S. in Journalism, and later went on to receive her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Her ultimate goal is to be an anchor in a major market. 

Interview by Morgan Douglas, SCSU JRN ‘23 and Trumayne Guy, ‘24. Answers were condensed and edited in 2023.

How did you begin in journalism?

So, I grew up watching the news with my parents. My dad, he’s a big fan of the news. He’s always watching the news. He wants to know what’s going on all the time. And I guess that kind of just rubbed off on me. So that’s something that I ended up growing a love for. And one of my idols was Sade Baderinwa, on ABC. That, honestly, just kind of sparked my interest in journalism, and that’s why I decided to go to school and study it.

How did you get involved in campus media? 

So, I knew that if I wanted to perfect my on-air performance and that if I wanted to get some hands-on experience, joining campus media would be the best thing to do. So, that’s when I joined SCSU-TV and that’s where I got to play the role of being a news director. I got to produce, I got to be on-air talent, and that’s where I was able to perfect my craft and be able to learn how working in a newsroom is very fast paced. A lot of teamwork is involved. So, that was really a big help.

What is your job like at WWLP-22News?

Being able to see what it’s like to go live and the pressures and everything of when they say “stand by” and when they tell you that you’re live, it was just really an exciting rush that I would get every single time. 

I get to see what it’s like to go live every single day, which is really exciting. I go live three times on the weekdays, and I go live four times on the weekends. So, being able to do that really helps me to be able to be comfortable speaking directly into the camera without a script. So, it’s really exciting. And I also get to get some experience in the studio as well, reporting and anchoring at the desk. So, that’s something that is really important to me because my ultimate goal is to be an anchor.

What advice would you give to SCSU journalism students? 

Start searching for potential jobs. Think about where you may want to move to, because when you start off in this field, if you want an on-air position, it will most likely be a smaller market. So, kind of think about those things. Where you want to go, where you’re comfortable with going. If you’re someone who would typically likes to stay home, look for places in the Northeast. If not, feel free to branch out. There’s a bunch of small stations all over the place.