At CBS and News12, Iona’s Teodora Mitov ’23 Plays a Leading Role in the Newsroom

Student Success

Name: Teodora Mitov
Major(s): Media & Strategic Communication and Political Science
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Yonkers, N.Y.
High School: Yonkers High School
Clubs/Extracurricular Activities (if applicable): President of IUTV (television club), member of WIUR (student-run radio station), member of Iona’s Media & Strategic Communications Honor Society, President of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society

Why did you choose to come to Iona? How has it prepared you for your career path?

I decided to come to Iona because of its proximity to New York City and the small classroom sizes. Broadcast journalism is an extremely competitive field, and coming into college I knew I wanted to get internship experience in the New York market, but to do that I needed to go to a school that would let me get hands-on experience as early as freshman year. Most of the “larger” schools I visited only allowed upperclassmen to get the best hands-on experience. At Iona, I joined IUTV (formerly ICTV) during my first semester freshman year and that was where I was introduced to reporting, editing, writing news scripts, anchoring, and so much more!

The classes I took also prepared me because I was constantly challenged – creatively, to try and learn new things, as well as academically, to think critically and to see different perspectives. My classes and experience in IUTV essentially led me to be a standout candidate on internship and job applications.

Coming to Iona was the best decision I made in my academic life.

What was it like interning at both News12 and CBS? What kind of work did you do?

To put it plainly - absolutely amazing. Growing up in Yonkers, News12 was my local tv news station, so it was surreal to work with the people I grew up watching. Getting the opportunity to intern at CBS was the same way, just on a bigger scale. I got to virtually meet Norah O’Donnell and I was starstruck.

Besides meeting people, being inside active newsrooms showed me that this is the field I want to work in. Although it can be hectic sometimes, it’s very exciting. At News12, I am currently an assignment desk editor. My role is to monitor and confirm news and to assign reporters to stories. I frequently communicate with public figures regarding anything newsworthy and then with producers and reporters to let them know of any updates or breaking news. At CBS, I interned on the National Desk, which was quite similar. My role was to monitor and confirm breaking news, pitch news stories, and take notes on press conferences. It’s essentially the same position, just working with national news instead of local news.  

How did you gain your position at News12 and how does it feel to be working in your field of choice – even before graduation?

During my second semester sophomore year, Professor Mike Damergis told me that News12 is looking for production interns and he sent me the link to apply. After, I was interviewed by Pauline Chiou, who was the news director of News12 Westchester County/Hudson Valley at the time and now has also been an adjunct professor at Iona, which is very cool!

During the interview, Pauline told me that I was too young for the production internship, but she said that they were understaffed on the Assignment Desk. She asked if I would be interested in freelancing instead, working Sundays from 3:30-9:30 p.m. over the summer. I thought this was an amazing opportunity to be inside of a newsroom and to be more involved, so I accepted the offer without hesitation.

After two weeks of training, I started my Sunday night shift, which then turned into also working on Saturdays and filling in for other assignment desk editors when needed. Before the summer ended, Pauline asked if I would be able to continue freelancing during the school year and I said yes! During my fall semester junior year, I spent my weekends at News12. Today, I now have a more traditional freelance schedule, where I fill in on holidays or when others call out.

I’m extremely blessed to have an opportunity like this before graduating. It almost doesn’t feel real, but I know that I worked hard for it, and I know that Iona played a huge role in allowing me to realize my journalistic abilities. I still have so much more to learn and that makes me even more excited for the future!

Is there a professor you feel helped prepare you most for your position?

The Media & Strategic Communication (MSC) Department and Political Science Department have positively impacted me in a myriad of ways.

In the MSC Department, Professor Damergis has helped me so much. He sent me the link to apply to my first internship at LMC Media, and also to News12 – he is how I found out about those opportunities. Apart from this, he has been incredibly supportive of the work I have done. Since my freshman year, he has provided constructive criticism that has allowed me to continue making my work better.

Also, this is my first semester having Dr. Mitchell Bard, who is the professor for my broadcast journalism class, and I truly believe that the quality of my news reporting has increased exceptionally from taking his class.

In the Political Science Department, Dr. Jeanne Zaino is someone that I look up to and have the privilege to learn from. Taking her intro class was the reason I decided to double major with political science since I wanted to continue learning more from her. Ultimately, this was a great decision because studying political science allowed me to further my knowledge and understanding of American politics and government, which is beneficial for any journalist. Dr. Zaino is also extremely supportive and has made time to let me feature her or her events in my work for IUTV.

What advice do you have for students going into this career field?

My advice for other students is to do as much as possible! It starts on campus. Joining the media clubs and being an active member almost forces you to get better at your craft. People don’t realize how much goes into IUTV, WIUR, or the Ionian, but all the work is rewarding because it helps you exercise what you learn in classes.

I would also tell any student to not get discouraged. I have applied to so many internships and I have been rejected more than I have been accepted. It can feel discouraging, but the reality is, this is a competitive field and rejection is common. Keep applying, and use your professors and classmates are resources for networking opportunities. Iona is so close to the city so use that in your advantage. Many “big name” journalism schools are far from New York City. Therefore, most of their student are applying for summer internships. Since we’re not that far, try applying to fall or spring internships as well to increase your chances.