NMSU Journalism Student Gains Experience With NBC’s Olympic Coverage

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LAS CRUCES — After applying for various internships during her third year in New Mexico State University’s Journalism and Media Studies program, Mia Tontodonati landed a coveted internship at NBCUniversal.

“I was a little bored because COVID was happening, so I submitted my resume and cover letter, not thinking I was ever going to hear from them. Then I got an email saying I was going to do an interview.

Tontodonati was interviewed for a slot with the NBC Sports News Desk. After several rounds of interviews, the internship went to someone else, but Tontodonati was invited for a new interview and then hired as an intern for NBC’s Olympic Research team.

“It was fun.” said Tontodonati. “Finding information about the different athletes who made history and hearing the announcer say things that I helped research was super cool.”

After the Olympics, the NBC Sports News Desk offered to extend Tontodonati’s internship through the summer of 2022.

“I’m starting to work behind the scenes, which is super fun. I work on our various sports shows and upload content,” Tontodonati said. “Writing titles and doing things on the website, updating the website and then seeing it, that’s super cool.”

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A native of Las Cruces, Tontodonati first discovered her passion for sports reporting in Las Cruces public schools while attending Sierra Middle School where she was part of the media magnet program.

Tontodonati attended Las Cruces High School where she continued to hone her skills by participating in the Bulldawg Broadcast media program. She was hired by the boys’ basketball team to take photos and film the team’s games. Her high school experience led her to pursue journalism studies at university.

Tontodonati not only worked in broadcast opportunities, but was also the first female sports editor for NMSU’s college newspaper, The Round Up.

Xavier Dominguez, a junior journalism and media studies student at NMSU, worked on Bulldawg Broadcast with Tontodonati in high school and then Round Up when the two started college at NMSU.

“Working with Mia in high school was so inspiring to see her so passionate about her work and her journalism,” Dominguez said. “Mia not only helped me grow on the pitch, but she also took the media program to a new level that it had never reached before, whether it was during our national competitions or by motivating us to continue our growth in ourselves or exploring new ideas to tell a story.”

At NMSU, Tontodonati’s passion for sports and digital media became evident.

“I did sportswriting for the Round Up, worked on live broadcasts with Aggie Vision (a sports broadcasting unit televising NMSU games). I worked with ‘News22’ (a student-produced newscast that aired on KRGW-TV) during my freshman year to see if I liked the news broadcast,” Tontodonati said. “None of them felt completely well until I started the NBC internship that I have now.”

Hugo Perez, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at NMSU, remembers Tontodonati as a student in one of his classes. “She’s very savvy with digital media and super creative,” he said. “The work our students do in the classroom is complemented by internships which can take their skills to the next level. Mia is now connected to NBCUniversal, which will hopefully open more doors to further internships and possibly full-time employment after graduation.

“The journalism department at NMSU has helped me because it really provides a lot of different opportunities,” Tontodonati said. “I tried everything and was able to find what worked for me and what didn’t. I think everyone should take advantage of all these opportunities.

Tontodonati expects to graduate from NMSU in May 2023. In the meantime, she plans to apply for additional internships with NBC to gain more experience and a foot in the door for future employment.

Minerva Baumann writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at 575-646-7566, or by email at [email protected].

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