70th anniversary: Neely Tsoodle reflects on her time at KSWO

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Every day journalists work to give a voice to the voiceless - which is why diversity in all forms is so important to the broadcast industry. Neely Tsoodle, a former reporter and anchor, spoke to 7NEWS about the impact the station made on her and the one she made on the station.

Tsoodle started working at KSWO in the 90s and said at that time - she was one of few Native Americans working in mainstream broadcast media. Despite that, she wanted to make sure the local tribes were being covered, so every morning, she’d come to work and pitch stories about what was happening within the Native American tribes.

“It was really difficult to pitch those ideas because a lot of the public didn’t understand the impact that Native Americans have, and eventually, I was able to win my case,” she said.

She said she was able to help people understand the impact native Americans have on communities. Getting the story idea approved was just the first step - she then had a lot more work to do before getting it on air.

“A lot of the Native Americans weren’t used to news people knocking at their doors, and it wasn’t a welcoming thing at first, so it took them warming up to me too. I think I opened a lot of doors to Native American stories, issues, and concerns - good and bad.”

Neely started as an intern while in college and said it led her to a full-time job at the station. She began as a camera operator and worked her way up to being a reporter and anchor in her career at Channel 7 in the 90′s and 00′s. Neely said she loved editing videos and got quick at doing it too.

“I would stay out on a news story with just an hour to go trying to get the latest information over all the reporters and stay there...knowing I could get back to the station, do my tape-to-tape in about 15 minutes, and head back to the location and do live shots,” Tsoodle said.

While telling Native American stories was important to her, she says she did a lot of feature stories over the years. But, as for what stories stay with her the most.

“Of course a lot of the crime stories stand out because they always stay in your mind because they were so tragic,” she said. “So, a lot of them stick in my mind too.”

Once she left, she was able to continue telling Native American stories as she worked for several tribes as PR Director. Neely credits her knowledge to what she learned while at KSWO.

“It gave me the tools to already know how to be in front of the camera. It gave me the tools to be behind the camera. It gave me the tools to write. It gave me the tools to edit my stuff I needed to,” she said. “I’m just very thankful for the opportunity KSWO gave me. It was an honor to work there.”