Focus on Telling the Story

By UM News

Focus on Telling the Story

By UM News
Nick Swyter produced a documentary on immigration reform, spent time in Panama, and his heading to Phoenix this summer for another reporting project.

Nick Swyter Nick Swyter, a double major in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies, has been with UMTV since the spring semester of his freshman year. He worked his way to the position of station manager, garnering awards, prestigious internships, and grants on his climb to the top.

Swyter admitted he went into UMTV with the idea he was going to be on camera, but was very intimidated at the prospect once he got to the first meeting. He started his UMTV career working behind the scenes on a show called ‘Canes Street, a sports comedy show with interviews and skits. Swyter said this show was more about being on the web than on-air, which helped him think of TV in a different light.

While Swyter says he fell in love with UMTV, his favorite project in his four years at the University of Miami was not for the station, but a 30-minute documentary, Not Even a Number, he created on immigration reform.

The effort, he said, “really showed me how to be tenacious, how to be gritty, showed me how to work my butt off like no other.”

While this was an “unreal task for one semester,” Swyter said he discovered that covering immigration is one of his greatest passions.

“That project really helped me become more familiar with the city that we live in, which is something that I feel is really important,” Swyter said.

Swyter won the Mark of Excellence Award for the documentary. He also received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for Best Television Feature Reporting and for the breaking news story he did with The Hurricane on UM President Donna E. Shalala’s retirement.

In 2013, Swyter traveled to Panama on a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grant to cover the construction of a hydroelectric dam and, in 2014, he took an internship with the Knight Foundation. This past semester, he worked with the Miami Herald for 10 weeks as a photographer, where he got the opportunity to cover events like the Ultra music festival.

“Even though I didn’t really have that much photography experience, they put me there and I learned another skill,” Swyter said.

Swyter’s plan after graduation is a fellowship called News 21, a 10-week program that recruits student journalists from around the country to meet in Phoenix, Arizona, to do a project of national reports. According to Swyter, this year’s topic is marijuana, so they will be researching the legalization of it, medical marijuana, data behind it, law enforcement, mothers who are advocating for medical use for their children, and the history and culture of marijuana, among other topics.  Swyter said that his focus for the project is tracking what’s happening in Florida. He will be taking a look at the politics and culture of marijuana, the medicinal side of it and how law enforcement feels about it.

Once the fellowship is over, Swyter said that he is going to continue to apply for jobs, relying on his hard work, extensive résumé, and dedication to fuel his trajectory.