ThreeSixty HotSeat: Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune

Photo of Nicole Norfleet
Nicole Norfleet has had her share of harrowing moments as a public safety reporter, but it’s “not all bad news,” she said. There are a lot of uplifting stories she also gets the privilege to cover.

Follow on Twitter: @nicolenorfleet

Ever wonder what the life of a Star Tribune public safety reporter is like?

Nicole Norfleet was born in Virginia, but grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2009. Out of college, she interned for several newspapers before landing a two-year apprentice job at the Star Tribune — a role that turned permanent while covering public safety issues in St. Paul.

A typical day for Norfleet starts by checking police reports — the old-fashioned way with a large book of documents kept in St. Paul. If anything is worth writing about, she’ll contact the Police Information Officer (PIO) for interviews or talk to a community leader about a growing issue.

“I kind of get to make my own schedule, which is a lot of fun,” she said of her beat.

There is also breaking news, of course — and Norfleet didn’t always dream about covering crime. But as she started to spend more time in communities, Norfleet (an east St. Paul resident) began to enjoy it.

“You get a chance to talk to people at the worst possible time of their life. … but you also get to bring them to life, humanize their story,” she said. “And make someone on the other side of the track care.”

During her free time, Norfleet likes to watch Korean dramas such as “Wild Chives and Soybean Soup” or “Bride of the Century.” It helps keep her mind off work — “that balance is important to me,” she said.

Her parting advice: “Always do something that makes you wanna get up in the morning, whether it’s journalism or something else. And take time to enjoy life.”


Editor’s note: ThreeSixty is fortunate to have wonderful media volunteers collaborate with our instructors during summer camp. As part of our July Intro to Journalism Camp, each visiting media member is being (cruelly?) subjected to our ThreeSixty HotSeat, where students can ask whatever question they’d like to help build a “getting to know you” profile.

Special thanks to Nicole Norfleet of the Star Tribune. To learn more about the author of this piece, Nasro Shil, check out bios from our 15 campers.