An Interview with School of Communication Professor Nicole Kraft

By Mia Rodio

Associate professor of Clinical Communication and Director of the Ohio State Sports and Society Initiative, Nicole Kraft, has been a lecturer at The Ohio State University since 2004 and a full-time professor since 2010. Before working at Ohio State, Kraft worked as the executive editor of the magazine “Hoof Beats.” She has also worked as a newspaper editor, congressional press secretary, and a newspaper reporter. Kraft also has a background in public relations, as she did PR for a winery in California, as well as for the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Currently, Kraft teaches Media Writing and Editing, Sports Journalism, and Media Law and Ethics. In addition, she has created a new course– Comm 3414: Sports Media Relations, so be on the lookout for the new class in Spring ‘22! While she does not have one favorite class to teach, sports writing is her thing, and she even takes her students to events that she covers for the Associated Press (when we have sports!)

Kraft has worked for the AP for the past 5 years covering the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ohio State basketball. In addition to professional sports writing, Krafts has been the Director of the Sports and Society Initiative for the past 3 years. The Sports and Society Initiative was created by the College of Arts and Sciences to involve people of all majors, who may not be athletes, in all aspects of sports. If you want to work in sports, the Sports and Society Initiative is a great way to gain exposure to the vast amount of potential careers. 

Kraft is also a published author. Her book “Always Get the Name of the Dog,” was written as an ebook last summer as an accessible guide to all things interviewing for journalism students. The goal of the book is to teach students how to produce the best stories they can by building relationships and asking the right questions in interviews. It was published as a print book in January 2020. Kraft said this book “represents what I consider to be one of the most important and least taught parts of journalism- how to talk to people in a meaningful way.” 

If you’ve taken a journalism course at Ohio State, you have probably gotten to use iPads in your class. Kraft’s Media Writing and Editing class was among the first to incorporate iPads at Ohio State in the Fall of 2014. In 2013, Kraft and other professors went to Apple’s headquarters in California to learn to create free ecourses on iTunes U. After this, Ohio State received a grant that would provide money for iPads if professors could show that they made journalism more efficient- and they did. iPads made students faster and more mobile; they could record, take pictures, and write copy all on one device. 

Technology has undoubtedly become a huge part of everyone’s lives in the past year. Virtual classes can be challenging, but Kraft has come up with creative ways to keep her students engaged. When sports were not being played, her students would report on video games played by the TA during class. They also reported on reruns of games, live tweeted the presidential election, and heard from multiple guest speakers. During this very different semester, Kraft says it is important to let her students know that they are all in this together, and keep them connected. Her advice for students taking online classes is to go to office hours, and be sure to make those strong connections with professors– even if it has to be done over Zoom!

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