Tamika Bickham

Back in 2010, Tamika Bickham was a senior studying broadcast journalism and working for NewsVision, UMTV’s half hour campus news show. Barely two and a half years later, Bickham is back in Miami, back in front of a camera reporting the news. But this time around she has a much larger viewership as an on-air reporter for WPLG-Channel 10, the ABC news affiliate in the Miami area.

“This all has happened really fast,” Bickham said. “This is a totally new challenge that is going to push me to keep growing and improving.”

Bickham, who joined WPLG in October, is a general assignment reporter for the morning show. A typical day for her involves getting into the office around 3:30 a.m. and putting together a news package to air live at 5 a.m. Then she moves on to other stories, and produces a news package that airs at noon.

“I’m still getting used to the schedule,” Bickham said. “I get up at 1 a.m. and I try to go to bed by 7 p.m.”

Immediately after graduation, Bickham traveled to Montgomery, Ala., where she worked as a night general news reporter for CBS affiliate WAKA.

“Montgomery is a bit smaller than Miami,” Bickham said. “You don’t have a lot of news coming out of there, so you have to do a lot more reaching and digging for things.”

Despite the size of the market, Bickham believes that her first job helped her become a better reporter.

“I think Montgomery really prepared me well for Miami,” Bickham said. “At the end of the day, a murder in Montgomery is a murder in Miami, and a house fire in Montgomery is a house fire in Miami.”

Andrew Barton, a lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media Management, had Bickham in two of his classes. He believes that the decision to move to Montgomery right out of school helped her hone her reporting skills.

“She did something that I think is a really good thing for most students to do, which is to make a decision to go to a smaller city where she can have a key role,” Barton said. “All it takes is a couple of years at a place like that, and you’re very polished. That’s basically what happened to Tamika.”

After her stint at WAKA, Bickham had a number of opportunities to go work for other news stations. She decided to come back to Miami.

“Miami is a breaking news town,” Bickham said. “I was definitely hopeful that I would be back here.”

Bickham’s quick rise to on-air reporter comes as no surprise to Barton, who described her as someone who is “constantly striving for perfection.”

“Even as she was graduating, I would have pegged her as someone who would be very successful in her career,” Barton said.