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Legal insight into breaking news

Friday, October 16, 2020

Broadcast news anchor Nick Ciletti wanted to pursue a master’s degree, and he knew a legal education could help him guide viewers through the increasingly complex daily headlines. USC Gould’s online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program is helping him gain a foundational knowledge of important legal concepts, while allowing him the flexibility to study as he reports from all over the world.

Photo by Jose Ochoa
Nick Ciletti, MSL ‘22
Facebook.com/NickCiletti
Twitter: @NickCiletti
Instagram: @NickCiletti

Even when that alarm is blaring in my ear every morning at 2:30 a.m., I take a moment to remember how lucky I am to have the job that I do.

Currently, I’m the morning anchor at KNXV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, Ariz., and — let me tell you — there is so much more that goes into the news than what you see on TV! We write stories, read through scripts, fact-check, discuss what we want in the show — throw in a little breaking news and a technological mishap here and there, and that’s a typical morning.

From hurricanes in Florida to wildfires in California, my job has taken me coast to coast and beyond. I’ve covered an earthquake in Mexico, tweeted video in the middle of Brexit protests in London, and even did a Facebook Live from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.

It’s always been a personal goal of mine to get a master’s degree, but I honestly had no clue what I wanted to study at first. I’ve always been fascinated with the law but didn’t think law school was really a feasible option because of the time and financial commitments. With a demanding schedule and job that I loved, law school just didn’t seem like the right fit for where I was in my life. And then I discovered USC’s Master of Studies in Law program.

As more and more time went on, the more and more it made sense. I love that USC offers the MSL program entirely online and it’s really convenient for my sometimes-unpredictable schedule — you never know when breaking news will happen. I also really appreciate the one-on-one attention my advisers and professors are able to provide us and that’s something that sets USC and Gould apart.

It’s also a full-circle life moment for me. I was accepted to USC for undergraduate studies in 2006, but for personal reasons, went to a different school instead. As amazing as that experience was, life has a funny way of making things happen, and 15 years later, I’m proud to be a Trojan after all! I believe the universe always puts us exactly where we need to be when we need to be there. I’m really happy to take this next step in my academic journey at USC.

One thing we can all agree on is that our world can be complex and confusing. This year alone, we’ve seen how the law can make headlines — everything from impeachment and constitutional protocol, to voting rights and voter suppression, to civil liberties and protections under the First Amendment. All of these are key topics that I admittedly did not know enough about before the MSL program.

What I love so much about our program is that, as I learn, I’m able to pass knowledge along to viewers – whether it’s trying to explain how due process works or walking people through how a prosecutor makes a decision on whether or not to move forward with charges. The law is everywhere in the world of news. As an anchor you’re in the driver’s seat and, for me, it’s about taking trying to take our viewers along the for the ride.
 

To learn more about the USC Gould Online MSL program, please visit https://gould.usc.edu/academics/degrees/msl/.