Natalie Symonds worked as a multi-media journalist and news anchor at NCTV17 from 2013-2016. She then went on to work in school communications for Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123, where her work in strategic storytelling won several statewide awards.
Today Natalie is the Public Affairs Specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Chicago office. Symonds upholds relationships with reporters, producers, and journalists in the third largest media market in the country as well as nationwide. In 2022, Natalie worked to amplify messaging following the Highland Park 4th of July Parade shooting, ensuring members of the community remained informed and able to utilize FBI-provided resources. In September 2022, Natalie attended the Advanced Public Information Office training provided by FEMA, earning her APIO accreditation.
Natalie met her husband, Alex Symonds, at NCTV17, and they live in Chicago with their toddler, Kniles.
What was Natalie’s proudest moment at NCTV17?
My proudest moment at NCTV17 had to be when I was asked to develop, produce, and anchor 630 Naperville. I had never done anything like that before but was honored Liz thought of me to do it! I was excited to be challenged everyday from developing digital sets with Mike Hubatch, running through the format with Liz, and of course working with the team to tell engaging long form stories. I am still so proud of the product we were able to put out.
Why did Natalie want to work for NCTV17?
I am a Naperville girl! I grew up in town, graduated from Neuqua Valley. Not only could I offer that hometown perspective, but I absolutely loved getting to know my hometown better and better with each story I was entrusted to tell. I loved that NCTV17 was a place to really explore your passions within journalism. I wanted to be an entertainment and lifestyle reporter, and my time at NCTV17 allowed me the opportunity to interview visiting celebrities at Anderson’s Bookshop and try new trends so that I had a lot of experience to lean on. Naperville is such a unique place and has so many characters. I loved exploring it from a different perspective during my time at NCTV17.
What skills did Natalie learn at NCTV17 that she still uses today?
My job now relies heavily on media relationships, my time at NCTV17 really helped me understand news and what a reporter or producer needs to tell a story. Having this skill helps when I go to pitch a story idea to local or even national media because I am not wasting their time. My time doing 630 Naperville helped tremendously because I have been able to carve out a niche for long form stories here at the Chicago FBI, taking our cases and turning them into true crime documentary series! Being a reporter also equips you with communication skills that are hard to come by in this day and age. I have no problem picking up a phone and talking to someone or heading over to their office – people appreciate that face to face connection, and it’s sadly becoming a lost art form.