When Frankie Katafias ’15, now working for KIVI/KNIN TV’s “Good Morning Idaho,” was growing up in Orange County, she often dreamed about what life would be like if she worked in television.
“I’ve known I wanted to be a TV reporter since I was 13 years old,” says Frankie, a Dominican Communication and Media Studies graduate now working for the ABC/FOX network affiliate in Boise. “The problem I had was I didn’t know how to get there.”
That started to change when Frankie arrived at Dominican from Tesoro High School. It was the first of several college tours she took and she was sold.
“I remember my dad telling me, `Don’t fall in love with the first college you see,’ ” Frankie says. “I tried so hard not to, but I couldn’t help it. Everything was so beautiful. The campus was gorgeous, I could study exactly what I wanted, and I could play tennis. It was the best of both worlds.”
The opportunity to play NCAA Division II tennis was appealing, yet the major selling point of coming to Dominican for Frankie was when she was introduced to assistant professor Bradley Van Alstyne.
“He was the first person I met, other than the coaches, and his personality was so exciting and all the opportunities he said I would have sounded almost too good to be true,” Frankie says. “I was drawn by his energy and the potential he saw in me.”
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That potential was also realized in the School of Liberal Arts and Education by assistant professors Stuart Horne and Barry Tompkins. They were shining examples of how Dominican faculty support, coach, and mentor their students. Horne paved the way for Frankie to have her own shows — `You Know You Love It’ and `Good Day From The Bay’ – on Penguin Radio. Tompkins, with his connections in the television industry, brought executives, producers, and TV reporters to his sports broadcasting class on campus and led class tours to NBC Sports Bay Area and AT&T Park.
By the time Frankie graduated, she was gung-ho to pursue job opportunities.
“I was so hungry to just know everything and do anything,” Frankie says. “I was told by Barry that the best way to be successful in this industry is to say yes to everything and if you don’t know something, say yes anyway and learn it. His advice, honestly, I would say is the reason I am where I am today.”
To get to Boise, Frankie worked as a freelance reporter and production assistant at Cox Communications in Orange County, then as a reporter and production assistant for City TV in Lakewood, and then finally became a field producer for Prep Pigskin Report in San Diego.
After two years of working hard and saying yes to every opportunity she could, Frankie had the skills and confidence to seek a job with a network affiliate. KIVI/KNIN in Boise came calling.
Today her role entails waking up as early as 1:30 a.m. to begin her multimedia journalist duties that include reporting live from the field (which included a report from a hot air balloon), shooting, writing, and editing her own content, and appearing in the studio for “Good Morning Idaho.”
“I have always said — and it goes back to my days in tennis at Dominican — I have never been `ahead,’ ” Frankie says. “Some people are just naturally good at things or just given things without having to work for them, but I’ve always had to work a lot harder than those people to see the same rewards.
“One thing I learned at Dominican is it doesn’t matter where you come from or what opportunities you have or maybe have not been given … if you want something, you can have it. But you must work hard, believe in yourself and trust your struggle.”