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Communications Graduate Wins Rookie Reporter Award | SUNY Plattsburgh

Carrie Miller ’10 had her eye on the New York Press Association’s Rookie Reporter of the Year Award from the moment she heard about it last year. So when the NYPA chose her as the award’s newest recipient in its 2013 Better Newspaper Contest, she wasn’t shocked — but she was plenty excited.

“I was ecstatic,” the former TV/video production and broadcast journalism major said. “Winning an award like that shows you all your hard work is even more important. I was proud.”

A Versatile Storyteller

Miller was a teaching assistant for a television production lab at SUNY Plattsburgh. She also produced a game show and refined her skills working for Plattsburgh State Television.

Then, she switched from broadcast to print journalism, earning a master’s degree in science journalism from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2012.

“I wanted to go with journalism because I realized how much I enjoy telling stories,” she said. “It was something I had a knack for.”

Of course, the direct, clear, stylish writing that won her the award didn’t come overnight.

“I had to pick up the writing skills,” she said. “My writing needed to become clearer and less clunky.”

Although she now works primarily through writing, she still uses skills gained with PSTV and the production lab. She said media outlets today need journalists with versatile skill sets.

“You have to have it all,” she said. “Not only writing skills, but the video and editing skills that allow you to tell a story in a different way. And tell it right.”

Not a Surprise

Miller is the first reporter from Long Island’s Times/Review Newsgroup to win the award. She writes for two of the company’s newspapers, The Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times, regularly covering breaking news, crime and environmental news. She also writes a weekly health column.

It’s a varied mix, but, according to NYPA, Miller writes it all well. The judges commended her creativity, the variety of leads she uses to introduce stories and the “abundance of information” they contain.

“Her writing style is impressive,” they said. “We see this ‘rookie’ on the road to much success as a newspaper reporter.”

The judges weren’t the first people to notice Miller’s talent.

“My mom said she knew I would win,’” Miller said. “She knew how badly I wanted it.”

Communications studies professor Peter Ensel '80 also noticed.

“She was a serious student, but yet was always cheerful and optimistic,” Ensel said. “She’s worked hard, and she’s a very bright and intelligent young woman. It doesn’t surprise me that she’s doing as well as she is.”

Professional Satisfaction

Miller aspires to someday work at the New York Times. But she’s in no hurry to move on.

“I’m really enjoying the paper,” she said. She feels like she can make a real difference, because she writes for community publications.

Miller’s hard work isn’t lost on her peers and higher-ups. Grant Parpan, executive editor for Times/Review and one of Miller’s mentors, said “Carrie is a reporter’s reporter. She puts extra effort into her research and always digs to deliver a fair, accurate and informative account of the subject she is covering.

 “I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to win that award.”

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