LOCK HAVEN — Nexstar Media Group’s CBS affiliate for the Johnstown-Altoona-State College market, WTAJ, has hired 2022 Lock Haven University graduate Tristan Klinefelter as the station’s latest news reporter.
In his new role, Klinefelter will be responsible for writing, reporting, shooting and producing engaging multimedia news content, for the station’s broadcast, digital and social platforms.
Klinefelter earned degree in communication with a focus in electronic media and journalism from LHU in May. One week before he was set to cross the stage and receive his diploma during LHU’s spring undergraduate commencement ceremony, he was speechless to learn that he already landed a position in his desired career field.
During his time at LHU, Klinefelter was a part of the radio club, WLHU Radio, and also served as vice president of LHU’s television club, Havenscope — helping, along with Matthew McKeague, associate professor of communications, and a fellow classmate to grow the club from two to 18 members in a single semester.
Klinefelter said the hands-on learning experienced through participation in those clubs directly aided him in earning the position at WTAJ.
“My entire Lock Haven University experience did a tremendous job preparing me to get the WTAJ job,” Klinefelter said. “From the countless hours in the radio and television studios or the coursework in my classes, it was fun, but also very demanding. In the end, it all definitely paid off.”
Along with his on-campus extra-curricular learning activities, Klinefelter, also completed an extended internship as a reporter for pafootballnews.com (PFN), where he authored more than 250 articles, while traveling across the Commonwealth to participate on the weekly show, The State of PA Football. During that internship he also served as a statistician for the PFN affiliate, Circle W Sports.
“My internship was also crucial to me getting the job at WTAJ in multiple ways, primarily in the way it helped strengthen my writing,” he said. “A well-thought-out script is the most important thing to do before starting any video project.”
Drawn to The Haven by the appeal of a more personalized education and its proximity to his hometown of Spring Mills, Klinefelter originally envisioned a career in print journalism, before shifting his focus to television during his junior year.
McKeague, a 2006 graduate of LHU’s communication program who joined the faculty in 2020, was pivotal in spawning Klinefelter’s transition to pursuing a career in TV journalism.
“Dr. McKeague brings an energy to class like no other and he even includes comedy in his teaching, which many professors don’t do,” Klinefelter said. “He showed me more of the technical side of production. which really helped me develop the skills that I’m eager to carry over to WTAJ.”
“I don’t really have words for how much the entire Lock Haven University Communication Department means to me,” he added. “Their constant support throughout my four years, and the countless lessons they taught that helped me get to where I am, truly means a lot to me.”
Klinefelter’s career with WTAJ officially began on June 7. His ultimate career goal is to work his way to becoming a lead news anchor.