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Meet Allie Raffa '14, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent
Raffa answers students' questions and shares career advice at FIU in DC, a hub for university activities in the U.S. capital.

Meet Allie Raffa '14, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent

The Honors College graduate shares her journalism journey.

April 28, 2022 at 1:15pm

For a time in 2020, Allie Raffa '14 was spending so much time watching Joe Biden that he was beginning to feel like one of her parents. 

In the months before his election, Biden was touring the country from state to state as a presidential candidate. Raffa's job was to cover him for FOX News. She joined other members of the press on a bus and followed him everywhere, from Nevada to Iowa, from gigantic rallies to little ice cream shops, always listening to see if there was anything to report. 

Thousands of speeches went by, she says. They were almost identical, only varying slightly for different types of crowds. Raffa became an expert on how the future President spoke. She grew an instinct for when he was going to break news. 

“If he paused at a certain part, all of us would pop our heads up and notice,” Raffa says. “If he was 10 minutes late, we would notice. ‘Maybe it’s a rewrite in his speech,’ we would say. ‘Maybe it’s an addition.’” 

“I learned his body language. You could tell if he was tired. You saw him every day. It’s like seeing your parents. You could tell if it was going to be a happy day or a long day.” 

The Biden campaign is one of several assignments that comprise Raffa’s impressive reporting reel. In January, Raffa was hired as Capitol Hill Correspondent for NBC News. She now covers the day-to-day politics of Washington, D.C., as well as legislative issues that impact the country at large. 

For Raffa, her dream of becoming a political reporter has become a reality. The journey to getting on air, however, was not the pampered and glamorous journey that many think it is, she says. 

“To get this job, you have to work your butt off,” Raffa says. “You are never too good for any task.” 

From FIU student to national reporter  

Raffa remembers one journalism class as being particularly impactful to her career today. It was a course taught by Neil Reisner, a reporter and professor at the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. Reisner's students conducted interviews in Liberty City, a predominantly black neighborhood near downtown, and wrote stories for the South Florida Times, a Black community weekly.

“In a place like Liberty City, the only things we hear about are food, fun, festivals, crime and corruption,” says Reisner, who has covered politics and investigative stories for decades.

“When something bad happens, there is media all over the place for two days, and then they go off. What I teach my students is how to cover a place from the ground up and how to look through the eyes of the people who live there.” 

Raffa took to the local spots of Liberty City to find interviews. 

“I learned that it’s so important to take the time to actually sit there and listen to someone,” she says. “When I got to FOX, I would say to people, ‘Hey, do you mind if I turn the camera off and just keep talking with you?’ Half of the time, you get great follow-up stories by building that connection with someone." 

Raffa went on to get a gig at CBS4 covering local courthouses. After graduation, she landed on the other side of media by interning in Senator Marco Rubio’s office. She monitored the press that surrounded the politician. 

After some networking around Washington, Raffa found out about an open assistant position at FOX News. She didn’t know whom she would work for until the job interview. It turned out to be veteran broadcast journalist Chris Wallace.  

Raffa, Wallace and the FOX team trekked the United States to cover the 2016 election. 

At this time, the FIU alumna took advantage of an opportunity. Raffa saw that FOX was looking for content for their social media platforms. She reached out and asked to contribute by covering the areas that her team was already visiting. It became her first official on-camera work. 

After the election, Raffa was promoted within FOX’s D.C. bureau to an associate producer position on Chris Wallace’s show “Fox News Sunday” where she worked for almost two years.

Raffa was then hired by Fox to be a multimedia journalist. She was stationed in the Tampa area, where the cable network didn’t have a heavy presence. She would cover whatever the network needed, carrying her own equipment around and editing videos as a one-woman band.

“I was never home,” Raffa says. “I went to Cape Canaveral for space stories. I covered the whole Southeast region and covered stories in New York and floods in Arkansas.” 

After three years in that role, she was assigned to go report on presidential candidates for the 2020 election. She covered Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and several other candidates before eventually landing full-time with Biden, who she covered for the next 18 months.

After the presidential inauguration, Raffa joined KNSD, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in San Diego, Cal. where she covered a wide range of stories for 10 months before landing the Capitol Hill Correspondent gig. 

Raffa is staying busy in the nation's capital. She has covered the confirmation of the Hon. Ketanji Brown Jackson, the upcoming midterm elections and the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s investigation into the events at the U.S. Capitol.

“Every day you hear a different streamline of drama,” Raffa says. “And then there’s the actual legislation to report on, the actual issues."

For students who want to get into the broadcast journalism field today, Raffa has two pieces of advice. 

“You need to know how much work you’re getting into,” Raffa says. “And you should do as many internships as humanly possible before getting into the industry. There are so many different tracks in journalism, so you should try getting into the subject matter that you would be happy covering 10 years from now."