By SALINA MADRID
Nick Miller, an award winning broadcast professor at New Mexico State University, is helping students turn their dreams into realities.
“The journalism department at NMSU has given me something important to do after I finished my own television career. It’s the most important thing that I am doing right now,” said Miller. “It also has helped me build a whole new circle of friends and brought me a lot of satisfaction by seeing my students become successful and enjoy their work.”
Miller grew up in the small town of Mena, Arkansas. After he graduated from high school, he attended the University of Arkansas where he received his Bachelors in History in 1975.
He has had no set track of where his life might take him, so after receiving his bachelors degree, he joined the U.S Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, where he served as an officer for three years on active duty and another three as a member of the active reserve. He returned to the University of Arkansas where he received his Masters in Speech Communication in 1982.
While going to school for his masters, he met the news director for the CBS television affiliate in Fort Smith, Arkansas, who decided to hire him as a part-time reporter. After completing his masters degree, the news director chose to hire him full-time, where he begun a thirty-year career as a broadcast journalist.
His television career took him from Arkansas to Missouri, Alabama and West Virginia. During his six years in West Virginia he completed a Master’s degree in Geography at Marshall University.
He has used his degrees for not only his own television career, but to teach others about journalism as well. His teaching experience goes beyond just New Mexico State University, but all around the United States as well. He enjoys helping students find their passion.
In 2011, he received a call from Dr. Sean McCleneghan who hired him as news director for News22, NMSU’s student-produced television newscast that airs on PBS affiliate KRWG-TV. He also teaches courses in writing for Broadcast and Media in Society.
Miller has been in charge of NMSU’s Broadcast Program, News 22, for 5 years now. He spends countless ours in the newsroom in Milton Hall, helping students get the newscast together.
Miller says that sometimes he doesn’t leave campus until 9:00 at night. The commitment he makes not only to this program but also to his students is extremely exceptional.
According to students apart of the club, being the news director isn’t an easy task, but very challenging. A lot goes into a small 30-minute segment that airs Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. From getting stories together, the editing process, making sure weather is accurate and the directors getting the show lined up, it takes a lot of hard work.
“I want my students to understand the challenges of journalism today,” said Miller. “And of course, I want them to know the basics of writing, using video and the ethics of journalism.”
Miller has had a variety of achievements throughout the years that he cherishes and is proud of. He has won numerous Associated Press awards for reporting, awards for News 22 accomplishments, as well as local awards including Best News Anchor in El Paso for three consecutive years.
Miller has served on many boards in El Paso including the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee that helped convince the local government to build a new animal shelter, The Assistance League of El Paso that provides clothing to disadvantaged children. The El Paso Summer Music Festival which sponsors a competition for young classical musicians and gives away instruments to deserving young people, and he was on the first board of directors that re-established Big Brothers Big Sister El Paso.
He not only gives back to his students by being an incredible mentor, but believes in giving back to his community as well.
And even after all these accomplishments, Miller says that the most rewarding of them all is not what is on his resume, but the high percentage of students from News 22 who get jobs once they graduate. He says that is what he is most proud of.
Nick Miller continues to impress his scholars with the dedication he has not only for his students, but also everything that he does.
Students from the journalism department describe him as a man of hard work, dedication and loyalty.
“Ever since I started News 22, he’s been very supportive,” said Mike Vigil, an anchor and reporter for the show. “I love his style of teaching, he lets you make mistakes then allows you to learn from them. He knows what he’s talking about and is a true professional. It’s been an honor to be able to learn from someone who was a successful anchor for over 30 years.”
The journalism department at New Mexico State University’s goal is to give students the best, most hands on experience possible, and with professors like Nick Miller, they sure do that.