Former broadcast journalist got start due to minor

Terry Harris’ career in broadcast journalism got started due to his choice of a college minor. Harris, who is now a journalism and mass communication instructor specializing in broadcast journalism, graduated from South Dakota State University in 1977 with a journalism major that focused on broadcasting, but also with a minor in political science.p11-Harris,-Terry-(4c300)

“I decided political science would serve me best as a journalist,” Harris said. “Not knowing if I was going to work in radio, TV or newspaper, I could tell the employer I could cover state, city or federal government.”

Harris said he also was more interested in political science than other subjects because of events that occurred while he was growing up. Watergate and the Vietnam War were events that drove Harris’ curiosity in political science.

After Harris graduated from State, he interviewed at Keloland News in Sioux Falls, but was not hired because an Academy award-winning short filmmaker was hired instead.

A month later, Harris went to Rapid City to interview for a job at KEVN. “When I got to the hotel, I called my mom. She said that the news director from KELO called and they wanted me,” Harris said.

The director offered him a job over the phone, but Harris told him that he was going to a job interview tomorrow and that he would come back after that.

“The KELO news director tracked down the news director at KEVN where I interviewing and told them I took their job,” Harris said. “It was decided for me but I was so tickled I didn’t care.”

The reason that KELO came back to Harris was because of his political science minor and his ability to cover government at all levels.

While at KELO, Harris was sent to Pierre and became the Pierre correspondent within a year, covering three legislative sessions.

Because he was unhappy with some of the conditions in his job, he decided to look at other options such as documentary work and the SDSU master’s program.

“In fall 1983, I began my master’s program as a graduate assistant with KESD-TV, the public broadcasting station at SDSU,” Harris said. “It went well, and I was offered a full-time public affairs producer position.”

In fall 1986, Harris took his first teaching job at Northwest Missouri State and later took a position at the University of Sioux Falls in 1990.

Then in 2009, Harris started as an adjunct instructor in the journalism and mass communication department at the University Center in Sioux Falls.

He taught additional multimedia and video production classes in Brookings because a faculty member left the department. Finally, in 2015, he became a full-time instructor after Jim Paulson retired.

“He’s very active with what you want to do when you graduate and how you can achieve it,” said journalism broadcast major Heidi Kronaizl. “He sets you up with connections, recommends classes and tries to give you the best recommendations for internships.”

Harris credits his teaching path to the experiences gained from working with the Collegian interns while at KELO.

“I gave teaching at the university level a chance and really enjoyed working with students,” Harris said. “Not all of them stayed with broadcasting or journalism, but I don’t mind because they found their way to what they wanted in life.”

Nick Goeman

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