October 01, 2022

Creston graduate encourages students

Lights. Camera. She’s on.

In the Creston Community High School library Thursday, were select students to hear the life and times of 2005 Creston graduate Tiffany Murphy. The 2005 Creston graduate who was inducted today in the Creston Community High School Hall of Fame said when the cameras roll, so does everything that got her to where she’s at.

“Genetics, upbringing, parents and bank accounts didn’t determine my future,” said Murphy who now works for ABC6 network in Providence, Rhode Island.

Murphy, 36, told the students a combination of her career and what fueled her to her goals.

“I was told I was not pretty enough or skinny enough for TV,” she said. “Cancel out those voices.”

Her broadcasting experience began in eighth-grade at KSIB Radio in Creston. She still found time to help local radio as she was involved in high school being a cheerleader, FFA, choir and speech. After her diploma she attended Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, for its broadcast journalism program.

“I knew I wanted to get out of Iowa and meet different people. I wanted to surround myself with new ideas,” she said. She said Pepperdine costed $60,000 a year on top of needing intellect, well-rounded experiences and good grades.

“I applied. I got in,” she said. Coming from a single-parent family, she was able to find scholarships and about $40,000 a year to pay.

“I made a way,” she said.

Her television news career has taken her to California, Montana, Las Vegas, Des Moines, southeast Texas and finally Rhode Island. During her work, she has looked back and saw where she had come from what she had accomplished.

“I was a nerd in high school. I was kind of a weirdo,” she said.

But despite the ups and downs of TV work, including losing a position because of the Great Recession in 2009, she didn’t give up. She also didn’t want to blame anyone. She encouraged the students to think the same.

“There are people who excuse their life away,” she said. “Take responsibility. Cut the crap and excuses and trudge forward.”

Murphy explained two ways life can be lived. She emphasized goal setting by writing down the goals, but more importantly, acting on them to make them be reality. “Write it down, but remember step one, step two, step three.”

“I know people who let fear dictate their whole life,” she said adding the drive to succeed must be greater than the fear of losing.

Murphy also encouraged the students to not be their own worst critic.

“Would you talk to your best friend that way,” she rhetorically asked.

Questions from students were about experiences during her work. She said she normally goes to the studio at about 2:30 p.m. and has meetings with others about story ideas. A reporter and a videographer are then assigned to the priority stories. She then assists with script writing for newscasts that evening. Although 10 p.m. is common for nightly news among Iowa television stations, she said her station is on at 11 p.m. She’s usually home before 12:30 a.m.

She said she has no interest in working for a national network as the time commitments are more than she is comfortable. Television news is highly competitive and heavily based on ratings which can determine job security.

Murphy said she has had occasional, emotional moments in her work including hearing from people who were victims of hurricanes. The one story that still gets to her is hearing from a mother whose child was abused on a Las Vegas school bus by a driver who had the job for many years. The driver was eventually arrested and tried. Murphy said he was sentenced to prison.

She said the mother felt comfortable talking to her as she has a sense of empathy when Murphy asked.

“I’m happy where I am now,” Murphy said about her life and career.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.