Three Rutgers Alumni, All Reporters in a North Dakota Newsroom

Three Rutgers Alumni, All Reporters in a North Dakota Newsroom

They arrived in Fargo ‘coincidentally, but intentionally’

Fargo 3
Jackie Kelly, Scott Sincoff, and Morgan Parrish are all reporters at KVRR-TV, the Fox affiliate in Fargo, North Dakota. Kelly and Parrish are members of the Class of 2016; Sincoff graduated from Rutgers in 2014.
Photo: KVRR-TV

'People out there in the world who hire tell me they would rather hire Rutgers journalism majors than from any other school. They're smart, they're talented, and most of all, they're hungry and willing to pay the price.'
 
– Steven Miller, director of undergraduate studies, Department of Journalism and Media Studies

Weather was the big story recently in Fargo, North Dakota, and Morgan Parrish, from the Rutgers Class of 2016, went out to cover it for KVRR-TV, the local Fox affiliate. It was a typical public service story: What should you do if you’re trapped in a disabled car during a blizzard? Don’t drive if you don’t have to and stay in your car and call AAA if you get stuck, the police told Parrish – who had to drive through snow and get out of her car in order to report the story.

Parrish is a multimedia journalist. “That means I report the story, shoot and edit the video, and write the story for the website,” she says. “I do everything.”

Parrish is one of three graduates of Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information – all journalism and media studies majors – at KVRR in Fargo, a city of 100,000 people in the Red River Valley. Her classmate Jackie Kelly is a reporter on the station’s morning show, and Scott Sincoff, a member of the university’s Class of 2014, is the morning show’s meteorologist.

“Coincidentally, but intentionally,” is how KVRR news director Joe Radske explains the presence of three Rutgers alumni in his newsroom. “Scott got here just before I got here in August. He posted a notice to an alumni job board that we were looking for a multimedia journalist, and Morgan applied. We had several applicants, but we really liked Morgan, so we hired her. Then she apparently told her friend Jackie Kelly that we were also looking for a reporter for our morning show, and Jackie applied, and we hired her.”

SincoffKVRR300
Scott Sincoff, Rutgers Class of 2014, during his debut weather forercast at KVRR-TV in Fargo, North Dakota. The story that day was heat. 
Photo: KVRR-TV
Sincoff’s road to Fargo started at Rutgers when he majored in meteorology as a first-year student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. He struggled at first. “So I shifted gears,” Sincoff recalls. “I was in the RU-tv WeatherWatcher Living-Learning Community, and really loved TV meteorology. My adviser recommended that I double major in journalism and media studies and environmental policy, institutions and behaviors. Then I took a class with Steve Miller, and he said, ‘You know you want to be a weather man, so just do it.’”

Miller, the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, guided Sincoff toward RU-tv, the student-run television station, and to an internship at the Weather Channel, where meteorologists urged him to pursue a master’s degree in meteorology at Mississippi State University. Sincoff graduated last year and joined KVRR, his first meteorology job, in May.

Like Parrish and Sincoff, Kelly had never been to North Dakota before applying for the job at KVRR. And like them, she was impressed by two features of life: It’s really, really cold, and its people are really nice. “They call it ‘North Dakota Nice,’ and people really are nice here,” Kelly says.

Parrish and Kelly share a future ambition – to come in from the cold, literally. They want to be on an anchor desk, and off the road. “The Today Show, that would be my dream job,” Kelly says. “I like morning shows because they’re lighter. I really like to make people happy, and morning shows bring joy to people, so at the end of the day, that’s where I’d like to end up.”

A confirmed weather geek, Sincoff is happy in Fargo, starting his day at 3:30 a.m. in a city where the weather is often the big story. “I’m part communicator, part story teller, part scientist and part graphic artist, too,” Sincoff says. “At first, all the graphics caught me off guard, but I’m having a lot of fun.”

That Sincoff, Parrish and Kelly got hired shortly after graduation and are doing well at the start of their careers is no surprise to Miller, who points out that the Fox station in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, also has three Rutgers alumni in its newsroom. “People out there in the world who hire tell me they would rather hire Rutgers journalism majors than from any other school,” he says. “They’re smart, they’re talented and, most of all, they’re hungry and willing to pay the price.”


Media contact: Ken Branson, 848-932-0580, cell 908-797-2590, kbranson@ucm.rutgers.edu