Shippensburg graduates drop anchor at ABC27

By: Tyler Downey
October 20, 2015

Thirteen years apart, Kendra Nichols and Amanda Peterson man the TV anchor desk together.

It isn’t very often you see two graduates from the same university on TV together. But then again, the Communication/Journalism Department is a rarity consistently graduating talented and successful alumni.

Thirteen years apart, Kendra Nichols (’99) and Amanda Peterson (’12) were never on campus together, but now they go to work together everyday at ABC27 in Harrisburg. What’s so special about this pairing is not so much that they both graduated from Shippensburg University, but that with a 13-year gap they get to do the news together. We in Communication/Journalism wanted to know what the partnership is like, how they got to this point and what it’s like to work together.

Q: Tell us a little about yourselves now.

Kendra Nichols: I’ve been working at abc27 for 10 years now, where I started in the web department and worked my way up. The station has sent me to cover stories in Honduras, Philippines, Colorado, I was also a part of our award winning coverage of the Sandusky trial as the court room reporter.

I am a 2 time Emmy award winner, have won several AP awards, PAB award was named ship alumna of the year.

Amanda Peterson: I’m the Daybreak traffic anchor and Digital Content Producer at abc27. I also fill in as a producer and reporter.

Q: What was your experience at Ship like?

KN: I loved my experience at Ship and felt like my comm/journ classes prepared me. I was able to get a reporting job quickly after graduating.

AP: During my time at Ship, I fell in love with my career and I met some of my best friends on campus. I miss it so much.

Q: You 2 graduated a few years apart, but now you have this chance to work together. What's it like?

KN: Amanda is great. We have several Ship grads in our news department and I feel like they are all stand outs.

AP: Working with Kendra is extremely rewarding. She’s a great mentor and a really talented reporter/anchor. I’m thankful that I can learn from her.

Q: Does the Ship Com/Journ connection play a part in your working relationship?

KN: I don't get to work with Amanda as much as I would like, but we both have a straight forward approach to what we do. We are both aggressive and confident which you need in this business.

AP: Working with other Shippensburg Comm/Journ graduates makes work easier. I know that we all have the same, strong foundation of knowledge and I know that I can expect excellence whether it is a photographer, editor, assignment manager, reporter or anchor.

Q: What finally got you two together on air?

KN: I get to fill in anchor on every show and our News Director asked me to fill in on the morning show when one of the anchors was out and that's the show Amanda works on.

AP: Kendra was filling in for our Daybreak anchor who was on vacation.

Q: What's it like working on air together?

KN: It was great. We have a natural chemistry which makes for better TV. It wasn't forced. We could be natural.

AP: It’s fun! Working in news can be stressful. Breaking news can cause big changes in a show in a matter of seconds. So when news does break and a show changes, it takes a strong person to react and make the show better. Kendra is one of those people. She’s an anchor, reporter and a producer, which makes her a benefit at the desk. She knows how all of the moving parts come together and that makes the team stronger. It’s also a learning experience. We have really talented journalists at abc27 and when Kendra was on Daybreak I had 2.5 hours to pick her brain! It was great.

Q: What are you doing now?

KN: While I have covered Cumberland County, I now have the freedom to cover stories all over the midstate, which is great. I get many requests and have made connections all over the midstate the past ten years and now I can cover stories wherever I like.

AP: Right now? Typing this up, haha. At work, I’m scheduling a shoot for tomorrow, planning out my schedule for the next week, typing up a script for the week in review segment and I just finished a promo shoot for our app. Busy, busy!

Q: Will we see you at the desk together again?

KN: I certainly hope so :)

AP: I hope so!

Q: Anything you want to say to students/alumni?

KN: I am proud to be a Ship grad. We have a long standing tradition of producing capable and excellent people for this field. Keep it up and make sure you lock down a really good internship and make a good impression!! It’s a small business and the impression you leave on us will be passed along.

AP: The connections you make at Shippensburg University are forever, take advantage of them! I landed my job because of contacts from the Comm/Journ department. And then at the station, I connected with co-workers and fellow alumni. After being here for almost three years, I have learned I am fortunate enough to work with some of the best in the business and most of them come from Shippensburg University.