Erica Anderson ’06 came to CUI to play softball and graduated with a desire to pursue a career in journalism. Today she is a general assignment reporter at WNCT in Greenville, N.C., filing daily stories for broadcast and the web.
“I pitch the story ideas, go out and interview people, shoot it, write it, edit it and present it on camera,” Anderson says.
She creates five to ten stories a week, with a particular focus on scams and technology. Recent stories include one about scam artists posing as the local utility company and demanding people’s personal information while threatening to cut off power.
“Part of my task is to find out what the new scams are and report on them,” she says.
Anderson came to CUI after two years at Colgate University in New York where she had been recruited to play softball. She wanted to finish her education in a Christian atmosphere, so she enrolled at CUI which was near where she grew up in Southern California. She made the Eagles softball team as a walk-on and was awarded a partial softball scholarship. During her senior year in 2006 the team made it to the national tournament for the first time.
Anderson had discovered her gift for broadcasting while announcing soccer games at Colgate.
“They really liked me and said I should do this as a career, so I was looking to go into that when I transferred,” she says.
At CUI she met lifelong friends and finished a degree in psychology while taking plenty of communications classes in preparation for attending grad school.
She also developed a much stronger work ethic, she says. At CUI she took six classes a semester, played softball and worked part time at a coffee shop. She also was a member of the gospel choir and the soul dance team, and was a multi-cultural scholar serving ten hours a week as an ambassador for diversity.
“It was definitely a learning experience for me about doing what you have to do to get what you want,” she says. “Looking back I wonder how I did it. I learned how to balance life and my job and do it with a positive attitude.”
That work ethic prepared her for her present reporting job which demands 12- to-14-hour days.
“You get up the next morning and have to have a fresh perspective and ideas,” she says. “Learning how to do that early on at Concordia really benefits me now.”
Anderson enrolled at Florida A&M in Tallahassee to get a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and finished it in spring of 2011. She studied general news reporting with an emphasis on sports. While there she became a broadcast specialist for FAMU-TV20 and an editor for WTXL, covering subjects as diverse as the 2008 presidential election, the BP oil spill and Florida State football. She was accepted into a year-long training program with Gannett talent development which placed interns in their stations and groomed them for reporting jobs. Anderson’s assignment was as a sports producer at WUSA9 in Washington, D.C. A year later she took her present position in Greenville.
“I’m here getting my training, making my mistakes,” she says.
Anderson aims to do more than report; she wants to add value for the viewer.
“I take stories from ‘This is what happened’ to ‘These are commonsense things you can do to avoid these kinds of dangerous situations,’” she says.
She believes God has placed her in Greenville for a reason.
“As long as I’m making people around me better I feel like it’s a winning situation,” she says.
She visits and vacations with Concordia friends who now live on the East Coast. In 2012, when the Eagles won the NAIA softball tournament, Anderson watched it online and talked with coach Crystal Rosenthal afterwards.
“I told her to smile during her interview,” Anderson says, laughing.
Anderson’s next career move will be to a bigger city and back into sports, she hopes.
“I’d like to go to a larger market in sports — Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee,” she says. “I’m drawn to football, of course, and softball and baseball, but I also enjoy soccer, hockey and NASCAR. If I had my choice I’d love to cover football. Eventually I’d like to go to a network, but if I can start my own sports network on the Internet, that would be a dream as well.”