Although Justin Karp graduated from ASU’s Cronkite School about 15 years ago, the lessons he learned as a student have remained with him as he’s progressed through his career.
Karp worked at a number of student media outlets during his time at Cronkite, including Blaze Radio and Sun Devil TV — later known as State Press Television — and was among the first students to enroll at Cronkite Newswatch when it started its expansion to a daily news program. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2007.
Those early experiences helped pave the way for his current position at NBC Sports as a vice president of social media at NBC Sports, a position he’s held since May 2022. Karp credited his time at the Cronkite School with preparing him for his current fast-paced environment.
“There really is no typical day, which is what makes it such a fun and engaging job,” Karp said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the way we communicate with each other professionally, and Cronkite has always been fantastic at training young people how to work with each other.”
Former Cronkite School Associate Dean and Professor Mark Lodato remembered Karp as a very engaging student who had an infectious laugh that filled the newsroom every day.
“He was the kind of student that you were really drawn to in that you wanted to help him succeed,” said Lodato, who is now dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Lodato helped transform Cronkite Newswatch with former Cronkite Professor Sue Green as a way to give students the immersed experience of working in a daily newsroom environment while also learning how to use professional equipment. Karp served as a sports anchor for the program.
“It just blows my mind that he’s been able to achieve what he’s been able to achieve. But I’m not surprised,” Green said.
Karp credited his former professors with training him to think differently when approaching a story.
“The great thing that Cronkite taught us that I remember to this day is how do you do it differently? How do you make it feel different from everybody else who is trying to cover those same stories?” Karp said.
Karp took that approach to the Pac-12 Networks, where he led social media efforts for four years before joining NBC Sports in January 2018.
“What current and new students can learn from Justin Karp is, I think it’s two things. I think the first is hard to teach and it’s just about passion,” said Karen Ramming, who was a social media manager for the Pac-12 Networks.
Karp was one of her first bosses after she graduated from college.
“The other thing that students can learn from Justin is that he’s just relentlessly curious and constantly learning. And I think that’s why he’s been so successful,” she said.
Karp’s past professors have always appreciated that he stays in touch with them over the years. Seeing students grow is many professors’ favorite part of the job, Lodato said.
“He’s always been an ambitious person, but he has never let his success override his fundamental desire to help others succeed. And I think that’s one of the enduring qualities that makes an alum like Justin so special,” he said.