NAU School of Communication welcomes Toni DeAztlan-Smith from NBC’s Dateline

Posted: Friday, February 6th 2015 at 6:31 AM

By Sophia Nitti, Student Writer

Northern Arizona University attracts exceptional faculty throughout its campus. The School of Communication continues the trend by bringing on board former NBC’s Dateline associate producer Toni DeAztlan-Smith.

Fresh to the classroom scene, DeAztlan-Smith moved from the east coast to work for NAU. Wasting no time diving into the curriculum, DeAztlan-Smith is teaching several courses this academic year including field production for the electronic media & film program, writing courses for the journalism program, and advising for NAU’s television news network, NAZ Today, a communication outreach that connects the university and students to the Flagstaff community.

“I’m lucky I get to have a different variety of classes that all touch on what I really loved about my career,” DeAztlan-Smith said. 

A graduate from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, DeAztlan-Smith is not only a capable member of the School of Communication team, but also has a nationally recognized documentary under her belt as well as years of experience with NBC. She will be able to bring first hand knowledge and experience from the studio and into the classroom. 

“I want my students to know that all the things they are learning and working on in the classroom aren’t just meant to live in the classroom,” DeAztlan-Smith said. “Everything you do will be applicable to real life and they have the potential and resources here [at NAU] to get wherever they want to go.”

Her documentary Second Chances originally aired on NBC’s Dateline last year and appeared for the second time including an update in January 2015. Documenting the lives of teenagers who are severely bullied because of their appearance, DeAztlan-Smith profiles the nonprofit organization in New York called The Little Baby Face Foundation ( that gives victims the chance to undergo free cosmetic surgery. 

“It was controversial, but that’s what made it such a good story,” DeAztlan-Smith said. 

Waiting in the wings to be aired on NBC’s Dateline is her latest work addressing the prevalence of adoption fraud in the U.S. 

The School of Communication is delighted to have Toni DeAztlan-Smith on the team. Having such a capable and knowledgeable faculty member demonstrates what a strong learning environment the university provides and is one of many points of pride for NAU.

Categories: nau school of communication welcomes toni deaztlan-smith from nbc’s dateline flagstaff business news nau business news spring 2015 2015 nbc dateline toni deaztlan-smith sophia nitti nbn february issue 2015