Page 1







New two-year associate in arts degree guarantees admission to select CSUs


KCET for



& friends


Melody Soto

The Documentarians

Interview with Emmy award-winning cinema and multimedia professors, Daria Matza & Mark Devendorf

Getting that journalism job

Five tips from Wrong Button Media’s Emily Kelly on getting that first internship or position

Doreen Clay / Pierce

Media Arts faculty members at Pierce College’s graduation ceremony 2014: (L to R) Jill Connelly, Jeff Favre and Stefanie Frith.



elcome to the Media Arts Department magazine. We have some exciting new things happening in our department, including the new Journalism Transfer Degree. On the back cover, you can find all the details about “The degree with a guarantee.” The degree is for students transferring to Cal State University campuses, which can give students an admission advantage at some CSU campuses. Also, we are developing a transfer degree for Film, Television and Electronic Media for our cinema/multimedia students, and we have added a degree and certificate in public relations. The details are in the Pierce College catalog that you can download online at: You can also find out about our current courses, including traditional foundational courses in writing and visual literacy as well as new offerings, such as mobile apps and social media.


Pierce has received $1 million grant as part of LA HI-TECH, which stands for Los Angeles High Impact Information Technology, Entertainment and Entrepreneurship and Communication Hubs. This grant will affect approximately 3,600 students aligning to three identified career pathways in Information and Communications Technology including Design Visual and Media Arts, Information Services and Support and Software Systems and Development. The Media Arts department will be participating in developing the Design, Visual and Media Arts Pathway. Find out more at www. Inside this issue of you will read what some of our standout graduates are doing, learn about our speaker series, and find out more about some of our instructors. To keep up with the happenings in our department, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and check out our department blog at where you can see our award-winning student photography and multimedia. -Jill Connelly, department chair



media arts dept. speaker series

bringing the media pros to pierce to offer professional advice


changing the direction

6 10


robert hernandez , the mad scientist of digital journalism , still feels at home in the newsroom

getting it right, the first time

5 q's w/

shooting for the stars


kelly goff , digital producer for knbc , takes info gathering to a new level

melody soto


from program director of kpcradio . com to social media editor of kcet ’ s artbound , she shares all .

living the dream


philip george , video production manager for the tennessee smokies , loves what he does .

geeky news






wrongbuttonblog . com , emily kelly , founder . for her writing isn ’ t just a career , it saved her life

breaking it down


jeff favre : adviser to kpcradio . com , the bull magazine and the weekly roundup newspaper

PIERCEMEDIAARTS.COM Art director \\ calvin b. alagot writers & photographers \\ jill connelly, stefanie frith, sydney grossman, robert hernandez, rob o’neil, philip george, emily kelly, GIL RIEGO, ANIBAL ORTIZ, LYNN LEVITT, ROBERT HOVANISIAN, NICO HEREDIA (cover photo) special thanks \\ JULIE BAILEY, JEFF FAVRE, melody soto, daria matza & mark devendorf, MICHAEL OWEN BAKER, SIENNA JACKSON, lisa-marie dewinkeleer_ 3




IS KEY Industry pros give Pierce students tips on entering the Media Arts field By Stefanie Frith


nternships with The Hollywood Reporter. A day on the job with a photographer from the Los Angeles Times. Interviews with an Emmy Award-winning TV editor. These are just a few of the opportunities that have resulted from the dozens of professionals who have visited Pierce College through the Media Arts Department Speaker Series. The program, funded by the Associated Students Organization, was launched in 2010 by the faculty members in the Media Arts Department. Two dozen professionals have spoken to hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members in the Great Hall, including Huell Howser from PBS; Dan Povenmire, the creator of Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb;” Jeff Gross, a foley artist from Sony; the music editor for “The Simpsons” photojournalists, writers and editors from the Los Angeles Times and Daily News and reporters from KTLA, KNX 1070, NBC and KROQ. “The Speaker Series gives a little bit more insight into what the professional field is like,” said Mohammad Djauhari, 35, photojournalism major. “It shows students the next level of their education is important.” Djauhari, a photo editor for the studentproduced Roundup newspaper, spent a day on the job with L.A. Times photographer Kirk McKoy, a spring 2014 Speaker Series guest. “If he had not came to campus and talked to the students he probably wouldn’t have thought about asking the department chair for students who would be willing to offer their services on a shoot,” he said. Djauhari isn’t the only student who has landed a job opportunity through the Speaker

Broadcaster Tracie Savage speaks to Pierce Co

It’s all about the connections you make with people. -Monica Velasquez

The Bull Mag Editor spring 2014

Series. James Hermon, Portia Medina and Shannon Ma all received internships at The Hollywood Reporter after the magazine’s Shirley Halperin visited Pierce College. A talk by “Keeping up with the Kardashians” editor Jeff Savenick led to a spread in the student-run Bull magazine. “It’s all about the connections you make with people, and it’s not always done in a suit and tie that you make an impression,” said Monica Velasquez, 24, The Bull magazine spring 2014 editor in chief.



Mohammad Djauhari / Roundup

ollege students about the industry and her experiences while reporting for NBC4 and KFWB. Networking is a key lesson many students say they have learned from attending the Media Arts Department Speaker Series. Kimberly Cheng, a reporter for KTLA, told students she wouldn’t be where she is today if she didn’t follow up with contacts. She showed them how important it is by encouraging them to follow her on Twitter and tweet her at #chengpierce and @ KimberlyChengTV. “I had a great time interacting with the students. I was extremely impressed by their involvement and hard-hitting questions. It’s clear that they’re receiving quality instruction at Pierce,” Cheng wrote in an email. Carlos Islas, a sports editor for the Roundup, joked that there isn’t a topic he hasn’t learned by attending the Speaker Series. One of the main things he’s seen is that persistence is key. “You have to keep trying,” Islas said. Velasquez said she’s glad the Media Arts Department continues to offer a way for students to interact and learn from

professionals. For example, the speaker from Sony showed students how he creates sounds for TV shows and films in his tiny studio. Gross, a former Pierce College student, described how a small patch of sand became the beach for “90210” and other projects. “You hear these sounds and you never imagine what the actual sound has been created with,” she said. The Speaker Series has been a chance for students to meet with professionals and learn to network. The speakers are invited by Media Arts Department faculty members who have either worked with the speakers in their own careers prior to teaching, or because the faculty members networked and found intriguing industry members to bring to the college. “The interaction has to be genuine and personal in order to do networking, instead of something you learn in a book,” Velasquez said.

--- For more information about the Media Arts Department Speaker Series, visit

• Scott Anger, Documentary Filmmaker • Liz O. Baylen, L.A Times • Kimberly Cheng, KTLA • Jay Clendenin, L.A. Times • Jon Fitzgerald, Documentary Filmmaker • Jeff Gross, Sony • Shirley Halperin, The Hollywood Reporter • Walter Hammerwold, Daily News • Huell Howser, PBS • Adam Hyman, Documentary Producer • Tommy Jaxson and Randy Kerdoon, KNX 1070 • Chris Ledesma, The Simpsons • Jill Leovy, L.A. Times • Daria Matza & Mark Devendorf, Feature Filmmakers • Lisa May, KROQ 106.7 • Kirk McKoy, L.A. Times • Mariecar Mendoza, Daily News • Doug Mitchell, NPR • Bill Plaschke, L.A. Times • Dan Povenmire, Disney • Tracie Savage, TV Broadcaster • Jeff Savenick, TV Editor • Kataneh Vahdani, Hasbro • Mark Wallengren, KOST 103.5

‘‘After all is said and done, I can say it was truly worth every minute.’’ MADISON BELL Assistant to the VP of Communications, CBS photo by gil riego jr.

MOVING ON UP Former Roundup reporter works her way the the top


By Sydney Grossman he full-time student with an internship coupled with being a full-time employee with an additional part-time job saga is one that perhaps has been told before. In fact, onlookers tend to have a love-hate relationship with that person; loving them because they are simply admirable and hating them because they think they would fall flat on their faces if they were to attempt even half of those efforts. Madison Bell is just that person. Not only did she balance a full-time student schedule between Pierce College and California State University, Northridge, she took on an internship at CBS Entertainment, worked full-time at a clothing store to pay the bills, was a casting assistant for Mark Burnett Productions in her “spare time,” and took on the full duties and responsibilities of being a Roundup reporter, all the while maintaining an A average. “I was never the A-student growing up, and once I found a program I was passionate about at Pierce, something clicked,” Bell said, reflecting on her educational path. “It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was part of the adventure.”

Bell’s extensive resume includes a handful of internships, ranging from public relations responsibilities to creating editorial articles and blog pieces on a regular basis. In addition to Bell building her journalism muscle in the real world while maintaining her full-time student status, she created her own jewelry company, Madi B Jewelry, selling to stores like Kitson, Bebe, Hot Topic, Arden B., and more. As Bell neared the end of her collegiate run, she began climbing the CBS ladder. Growing within the company, first as an intern, Bell eventually landed a position with CBS Television Distribution, first as the publicity assistant on The Jeff Probst Show, and currently, as the assistant to the vice president of communications. “We handle the publicity initiatives for all of our first run syndicated shows as well as all of the PR efforts for CBS Consumer Products and CBS Home Entertainment,” Bell said of her current responsibilities, adding, “If it weren’t for Pierce, I don’t think I’d be as tough and prepared to handle everything I have thus far.” With Bell’s home-run success, both in college and in the work force, she is unwavering in her opinion on how her foundation was built and structured,

providing her with so many accolades. “Pierce’s journalism teaching staff only consists of professional’s within the industry: They only taught on subjects that were relevant,” said Bell. “They provided me with actual information and knowledge on topics that are not only useful in journalism-related industries but are also universally relevant.” Being pushed to her limit, time and time again, Bell’s professors, courses, and workload all contributed to who she is and where she is today. “Pierce’s journalism program not only provided me with the fundamentals of journalism and how to become a reporter, but it also strengthened my ability to write,” Bell said of Pierce College’s Media Arts Department. “They taught me how to be become a successful writer first and then taught me the ins and outs of becoming a journalist.” Bell continued, “I owe my success to Pierce for not only educating me on how to be a journalist but how to manage an extremely heavy workload, being detailed oriented, working both on a team and independently, and most importantly, expecting the unknown and how to be prepared. And yes, after all is said and done, I can say it was truly worth every minute.”



CHANGING direction

Web journalism vet now on the faculty at USC Annenberg


remember walking to the admissions counter looking for an answer. One that I knew was going to change the direction of my life. So many different things had brought me to that very spot. I remember being in middle school in Los Angeles and thinking I’d never want to attend Pierce College. I remember, just a few years later, graduating high school from San Salvador, El Salvador, with the thought that I was attending Purdue University, simply because I applied. I remember the letter my father handed me when the plane left El Salvador headed back to the United States. It was a rejection letter from Purdue. I was never one of those people who knew what they were going to do with their lives ... the path identified, each moment mapped out. I did know I was going to go to college, but didn’t know how or for what. After the Purdue rejection, I heard of a FastTrack program – now called PACE – offered at Pierce that would grant me priority to core courses and allow me to transfer out to a four-year institution faster. But I had to take a test and make it in. And that’s what led me to that admissions counter. I hadn’t heard my results, so I went in to ask for them in person. The person behind the counter gladly helped me out and brought up my test scores. It turns out I had done great on the written portion. But ... I didn’t score high enough on the math portion to qualify. I didn’t make it in. As my brain began to downward spiral with my latest option disappearing; as I realized the karma in being rejected by a school I rejected as a middle schooler ... the person behind the counter interrupted and



ROBERT HERNANDEZ Associate Professor, USC said, “But you’re in now.” This person behind the counter changed my score ... and, in a keystroke, changed my life. Pierce College is a special place. It’s where many of us go to finally start our adult lives, while others go to find a new direction or a second chance. And others, still, go to simply improve and build upon their skills. For whatever the reason, the journey that launched my journalism career and eventually led me to become an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California began at that admissions

counter… and the helpful person behind it. It was at Pierce that I took my first journalism class. (That’s where I met Professor Rob O’Neil, another person at Pierce that changed my life.) It was at Pierce where I stepped into my first newsroom and knew, immediately, that I was home. It was at Pierce where I busted my ass in those core courses in order for me to transfer out and moved onto San Francisco State’s journalism program and beyond. It all began at Pierce. A place that accepted me and changed my life.

Getting it right, the first time Former Roundup editor in chief goes on to report crime for L.A. Daily News and beyond


ormer Roundup EIC Kelly Goff is trying to list the 13 or so schools she attended before landing at Pierce College. Running out of fingers somewhere between Rancho Mirage Elementary in Palm Desert and NYU, she pauses. “Let’s just say we moved around a lot,” she recalls. ”Books became my friends.” Fostering that lifelong love of reading were her mother, whose monthly allowance to Kelly was often the latest Baby-Sitters Club book, and a Rancho Mirage library aide who gave her first dibs on all new acquisitions. Then there was the Palm Springs Desert Sun opinions editor whom she met while editing her high school paper. He knew she wanted to go to law school. “One day he told me, ‘You would make a really good attorney, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you would make a great reporter.” And at Pierce College, there was Blanca Adajian, adjunct assistant professor of journalism, who taught her the fundamentals of writing news. “I’ve never agonized over one sentence more in my life,” Goff said. “I would get these papers back covered with red marks … even though they had A’s on them.” Adajian sent her to the Roundup, where eventually Goff became editor in chief. From there, the pace quickened. Two weeks after finishing a summer internship on the L.A. Daily News copy desk, she was asked to return as a picture editor, working with director of photography Dean Musgrove, also a former Roundup editor in chief. At San Francisco State University, Goff became editor of the then-weekly Golden Gate Xpress, going beyond traditional print to breaking news online. She delivered the student address at her graduation. Returning to Southern California, she

interviewed for a reporting job at the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. “I know nothing about business,” she told the editor. “But I promise you I will learn really fast.” There she discovered the value of source reporting and the value of maintaining sources. “In covering real estate and other business, you can’t wait until the deal goes down before you write about it,” she explained. Those lessons proved handy within the year when Goff returned to the Daily News as a police reporter. The next 10 months took her beyond the Valley’s streets -- where her work included an in-depth series on prostitution and human trafficking -- to the Northern California rural community of Orland, and to some exclusive coverage of the tragic April 10 collision between a FedEx truck and a tour bus carrying college-bound high school students on a visit to CSU Humboldt. Most recently Goff joined Los Angeles’ NBC4-TV as a digital news producer and social media lead. At the new (Tom) Brokaw News Center on the Universal Studios lot, she is helping to produce and distribute news 24/7, a 21st century step beyond TV’s traditional news broadcast slots. Though relatively new to broadcasting, she finds herself at home with the Channel 4’s approach to news coverage: “They have told me to be first, but to be right first.” Goff’s adaptability is no surprise to Timi Poeppelman, who teaches communications at Cal State Sacramento and is an events planner for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, for which Goff serves as secretary-treasurer. “Kelly has the unique ability to process the significance of the information she’s gathering at the same time she’s gathering it,” Poeppelman observed. “She embodies all the old-school principles of journalism while also being fluent in all the modern distribution forms, as well as knowing how and what to do with data.”

photo by michael owen baker

By Rob O’Neil

KELLY GOFF Digital Producer NBC4 9








Three Pierce photographers now at work in the industry

By Coburn Palmer

hree journalism alumni have gone on to find jobs in the photography industry thanks to the skills they learned from the dedicated instructors at Los Angeles Pierce College Gil Riego, Anibal Ortiz and Louie Heredia worked on the Roundup newspaper before leaving Pierce to join the ranks of the gainfully employed. Ortiz began his Pierce journalism career as a writer and designer before moving on to hone his photography skills and going on to serve as EIC for both the Roundup newspaper and the Bull magazine. After leaving Pierce, Ortiz entered CSU Fullerton’s program as a writer and designer before becoming the school newspaper’s photo editor and interning at KPCC radio station. He also worked as a summer intern at the Star Tribune in Minnesota and the New York Times Student Journalism Internship in Arizona. He currently works for the OC Register as a photo apprentice as part of its year-long training program where he works side by


side with industry professionals. Ortiz credits the multimedia skills he learned at Pierce and the time he spent learning from his peers as the key to his success. Ortiz met one of his peers, Riego, in 2009 and the two quickly became friends. “Gil is above all a good influence. On a professional level I look up to him. He’s been my main photo teacher and a great friend and mentor,” said Ortiz. After attending Pierce for five years, Riego graduated with three associates degrees and went on to study at San Francisco State University where he graduated three years later with a bachelor’s degree in Photojournalism. During his time at Pierce, Riego served as the first editor in chief of the Bull magazine after it returned from a hiatus, and later as EIC of the Roundup newspaper. During his first semester in San Francisco, Riego interned at the S.F. Weekly and was later hired as a freelance photographer before serving as multimedia and photo editor for S.F. State’s student newspaper. He also interned at the S.F. Examiner and won many awards including Best College Photographer. Today Riego works as a freelance photographer for MySpace and Nokia, a marketing developer for a casting firm and

as a journalism lab supervisor at Citrus College. “I learned technique and skills at Pierce, but at SF State I learned to hustle. If you can’t compete with yourself you can’t compete with others,” said Riego. Both Riego and Ortiz look up to and respect Heredia for his work ethic, professionalism and dedication. “Louie’s an incredibly talented photographer and a go-getter. He knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to get it,” said Ortiz. Heredia began his multimedia career working for the Roundup and the student radio station He also served as a photographer for the Roundup before working his way up to photo editor. After Pierce he went to work in Los Angeles for Image Locations, a company that specializes in finding locations for filming movies. He credits the instructors at Pierce with providing him with the skills he uses at work. Today Heredia manages his company’s multimedia department and works with celebrities including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Olivia Wilde. “Journalism is a competitive industry. Everyone gets the same story. It’s up to you to make it great. You learn you have to get it right, you have to get it done,” said Heredia.

GIL RIEGO, Jr. Freelance photographer

photo by gil riego jr.

LOUIE HEREDIA Image Locations

photo by anibal ortiz


photo by nico heredia


MELODY SOTO Social Media Editor

KCET Artbound


photo by lynn levitt




Melody Soto KCET artbound social media editor

elody Soto is social media editor and editorial assistant for KCET’s awardwinning Artbound and associate producer for music series Artbound Presents Studio A. From Reseda, Melody attended Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet — a writing intensive program where she was encouraged to question conventional norms. Her interests include California history, dancing, fashion and listening to alternative country. When did you first get the bug for wanting to pursue broadcasting? I wasn’t allowed to watch very much television as a kid. My parents always woke up to Spanish-language morning edition news; tuned in to the evening newscast at 6 p.m.; and ended their day with an 11 p.m. broadcast. News programs were always on in the background of my household. Early on, I developed an admiration for journalists who traveled to conflict areas. Those faces that I saw on TV had a responsibility to inform such a large community — the Latino community. I appreciated their execution and professionalism. When I arrived at Pierce College, I actually intended on majoring in Spanish, then business and later theater. It wasn’t until I enrolled in Rob O’Neil’s Journalism 101 course that I fell in love with communications and knew I wanted to pursue a career in the field. Journalism was challenging and required an introverted person like me to step outside of my comfort zone. How did Broadcasting 10 and then being program director help you toward your career? Broadcasting 10 was a demanding class. It forced me to learn at a fast pace and I gained a lot from it. The course taught me how to handle an audio recorder, write for broadcast and edit audio. I developed sharper skills when conducting interviews as well. Having access to a radio station equipped with professional gear gave me invaluable handson experience. By the end of the semester, I created a number of podcasts and developed a show that aired weekly. Like any other leadership position,

being program director came with so many responsibilities. Being program director led me to build and strengthen relationships with others. What were some of the biggest challenges and triumphs when it came to your broadcasting studies at Pierce? I was program director for two semesters and I’m really proud of the work other members of the board of directors, staff and I were able to accomplish. We undertook off-site multimedia reporting in the community and live-streamed sports games. We also maintained a diverse on-air lineup that included a Spanish-language show and programming that covered arts, culture, current events, music, news, poetry, wellbeing and sports. How did your work at Pierce help lead to work outside of the school in broadcasting?’s mission has always been “community first.” I work for a public television station that has a similar vision. The show I created and hosted at highlighted Latino arts. KCET Artbound explores arts and culture throughout Southern California. Can you explain your work now - what you do day-to-day, and some of your favorite parts of the job? Artbound is a transmedia project that launched in May 2012 and covers art in 11 counties. The initiative has an online site and a TV show. Our process involves a weekly voting system where our audience chooses articles that go on to be made into shortformat documentaries by our production team. Those mini-documentaries are then assembled into hour-long TV episodes. Artbound Presents Studio A is a newer series that showcases Southern California-based musical acts. I create newsletters and manage social media accounts for both shows, and provide support for web content. During in-studio shoots I assist with productions, and am in charge of audience members who attend our live tapings. I love that Artbound spotlights the creativity in our state. From architecture to photography and street art, we get to meet and learn the stories of skilled producers who are actively creating.

Living the



ixteen years old. That’s how old I was when, on the first day of my junior year of high school, I walked into the Roundup newsroom for the first time. At the time, my journalism experience consisted of three articles for a rag-tag high school newspaper, and my only education was the month I had spent in Jeff Favre’s Journalism 101 course. I’m 22 years old now. I’m a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I’ve covered major national sporting events like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I’ve worked in professional baseball for the past four years, and I currently manage the video production department of a minor league team in Knoxville, Tenn. And yes, sometimes I dress up as a park ranger and yell on a mic at fans when the team needs a rally. At a young age, I truly am living my dream and a large part of that I credit to Pierce College and the Roundup. From the first day of that first class, the staff at Pierce did a thorough job of providing myself and other young, aspiring journalists

PHILIP GEORGE Video Producer Tennessee Smokies

the tools to be successful. No detail – from a misplaced hyphen to an accidental opinion – was too insignificant to ignore because, as we all know, it’s those small details that separate the good writers from the great. “No” was not in the vocabulary of neither the advisers nor editors at Pierce. I wanted to go on the road with the basketball team to cover a must-win game. They let me. I wanted to do a video interview segment, which, at the time, was a first for the Roundup. They let me. For my final piece, I wanted to conceptualize, design and write a full-page double-truck complete with articles, infographs and photos. The editor-in-chief went as far as to move around advertisements to make sure I had enough space. Despite such a sizable staff of students of all ages, backgrounds, skill levels and ambitions, the Roundup advisers were committed to making all of them the best that they could be. They let me grow, experiment and determine what I liked and disliked, what I was good at and what I could use some work on.

About the only thing they didn’t let me do was pigeonhole myself into being just “the sports guy.” And for that, I’m a better journalist. It’s been five years since I wrote my last article for the Roundup, and yet the people from that newsroom still remain a large part of my life. I still keep in touch with my advisers to let them know what I’m doing these days, and often times, just to chat. The writers and editors from my time on the Roundup remain some of my best friends today, and on my graduation day from Syracuse, it was those people who called and posted on Facebook to congratulate me first. I even still have my 2007 edition AP Stylebook, and my JACC awards hang high on my bedroom wall right next to my Syracuse University diploma. From Southern California to Upstate New York to East Tennessee and everywhere in between, I’ve traveled far and wide in the name of establishing and expanding my career as a media professional. I know my travels are far from over, but no matter where this journey takes me, I’ll always remember where it began.


y k e e G s w Ne 14 14

To be honest, checking that journalism box on my elective sign-up was probably one of the best decisions Ii made in my whole life. EMILY KELLY Co-founder Wrong Button Media

photo by sean mcdonald piercemediaarts .com

From ‘Talk nerdy to me’ on to her own award-winning geek website


y grandfather gifted me my first Harry Potter book on Christmas morning 1998 (it had just been released to rave reviews in the UK), and with this act, he was indirectly responsible for my lifelong love of reading and writing. Harry Potter was an epiphany for me in some ways. It opened up my imagination to a whole new world of playtime and possibilities, and started me on my path to becoming a writer. After my parents got divorced when I was 12, I was looking for an outlet. I needed something that could transport me out of the turbulent world I was living in, and I found it in the form of Role Playing Game writing. No, not like Dungeons & Dragons. these RPGs take place on Internet forums, where people from all over the world can create stories together. The first one I joined was a Harry Potter site that had just launched, which allowed writers to act as students at Hogwarts. It might seem trivial, but RPG writing is a big part of how I was able to develop my writing talents from a young age. I was writing every single day, multiple times a day. I was creating detailed backgrounds and personalities for characters I created, developing sweeping plotlines and story arcs. As I got older, my characters got more complex and single posts could be in the thousand-word range. I was addicted to writing, and took a chance at broadening my writing horizons by joining my high school’s newspaper. To be honest, checking that “Journalism” box on my elective sign-up was probably one of the best decisions I made in my whole life. It was a different style of writing than I was used to, but to my surprise, I fell into journalism with ease. By the time I was a senior, I was the editor in chief of the paper and a scholarship winner for my work on the paper I’d spent three years on. My adviser, Jeff Mount, gave me a space to grow and develop my talent as a writer, and the camaraderie of the newsroom gave me a space to just be myself. Unfortunately, putting so much time and effort into one thing had caused me to sour on journalism as I approached graduation.

So when I left to attend Cal State Northridge in 2007, I decided to be a screenwriting major instead. After a year at CSUN, I transferred to Pierce College. I found I missed journalism—I missed the friendship and fulfillment it had provided me—so I signed up for a J101 class. The class was taught by Rob O’Neil (a man I now think of as a mentor) and he was the one who convinced me to join Pierce’s newspaper, The Roundup. I cannot express how grateful I am to him, because I would not be where I am without my time on the Roundup. I spent three great years with the Pierce Media Arts Department—including multiple editorships on the Roundup and a fun semester hosting a geeky radio show on— and won dozens of inter-department awards for my writing and designs, as well as five Journalism Association of Community Colleges awards. And while I’m proud of every single accolade, my resume is the best reflection of the skills I learned at Pierce. Since leaving Pierce and returning to CSUN three years ago, my writing has been featured in internationally distributed publications and I have gotten jobs as the senior editor for, as an assistant editor for, and am currently working for Disney Interactive on their premier online property, I have also been able to use my passion for all things geeky and my penchant for writing to found a geek news and culture blog with my boyfriend and co-founder Peter Kunin. launched in November 2012 and in August 2013, the blog was awarded Geekiest Content and was nominated for Best Website at the Geekie Awards. For me, writing isn’t just a career; it’s a reason for living. When I was at my lowest points—struggling with severe bouts of depression and anxiety—I always had my writing. I can honestly say that writing saved my life. I’m so proud to work for one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world, and I know that I would not be where I am without recognizing where I come from. So to every teacher, every friend, every journalism advisor, and every employer who ever complimented my writing: I could not have done this without you.

How to get a job in journalism (Even before you graduate) Think Local: If you’re not on the college’s newspaper or magazine already, get on it. Even if it’s just a college publication, you’re learning real-world, on the job skills that are invaluable. I can tell you from experience that having tangible experience on a weekly publication helped get me my first jobs in the field. Paid Internships Aren’t a Myth: I’ve had four internships and they’ve all been paid. Know why? Because I already had the skills they were looking for. Internships are great for learning new skills, but you’re more likely to land a paid internship if you already have some experience on your resume. That’s where tip No. 1 comes in, see? Be Brave: “The shots you don’t take are the ones that always miss.” A job description might seem daunting or out of your league, but what’s the worst that can happen? Apply for every job you think you’re capable of (within reason, of course) That’s how I landed my gig at Disney! Write About What You Know and Love: Some of the best writing I’ve ever done has been about topics I’m invested in. Whether its women’s rights or Star Wars: Episode VII, your knowledge and passion will always shine through. Know the Pros: If you wanted to be a champion swimmer, you would study Michael Phelps. So if you want to be a professional writer, study other professional writers. I probably read four or five writers religiously, and it’s especially helpful to read writers who address the same topics you like to write about.

Interview with


Documentarians An interview with Emmy Award-winning cinema professors Daria Matza & Mark Devendorf


t home, husband and wife Daria Matza and Mark Devendorf— Pierce College cinema/multimedia adjunct faculty— consider themselves equal partners. But when the cameras roll, whoever takes the mantle of director is in charge—and always gets the last word. Who the boss is depends on the project. For “The Curse of the Styria,” a feature starring Oscar-nominated Stephen Rea, Devendorf served as co-director with Mauricio Chernovetzky, while Matza produced.


For an upcoming documentary on the wild world of giant pumpkins, Matza is in charge. It’s an arrangement that may not work for all couples, but this team, married since 2007, doesn’t know any other way. What got you into filmmaking as a career? Daria Matza: I initially thought I wanted to be a marine biologist because I loved Jacque Cousteau movies when I was in junior high, and then I took my first chemistry class and I found out I was not a scientist. I later learned my true passion was in how film can transport us to different locations and in different people’s lives. That made me want to be a storyteller. Mark Devendorf: I was going to UC Santa

Cruz and I saw a movie by Satyajit Ray called Charulata and it was more magical than anything I’d ever seen. It made me want to start studying film. Where did you two meet? DM: We were getting our master’s degrees in Film, Television and New Media at San Diego State. There were only 11 of us in the graduate program so we were in every class together. It was a slow falling in love. We were friends for a long time and we made two movies together. Just the process of working together and seeing the way we worked together it made me think we could maybe make more than movies together. MD: My version is that she couldn’t see

what an awesome guy I would be to have a relationship with until we went undercover as a married couple buying our first Hummer. We pretended to be a young married couple in love and she thought, wow, this could be real. What’s the biggest project you’ve completed? DM: Styria. It’s a feature film we made independently with Stephen Rea and an international cast and crew. MD: On The Curse of Styria, Daria was the producer and made sure everything got done. What’s your current project? DM: We’re making a documentary about giant pumpkin growers. We followed the 2013 season, and we followed the guy who set the new world record. It weighs 2,032 pounds. How did you wind up at Pierce College? DM: I went to high school in Woodland Hills, so I always knew about Pierce. I wanted to teach and they offered me an outreach class off campus. Soon after, I helped bring Mark on board. Do you think the courses you’ve taught have practical applications to help students in the work force? MD: I have a student who’s working on a documentary about a third party candidate, and he’s editing as I’m teaching the class, so every new technique I’m showing he’s able to use. DM: Almost every business you encounter today is trying to implement video on their website, or they are adding video to their social media feed. The better quality video and better storytelling you have the more it can help a business. So it crosses all fields. Do you get along better as a couple or working partners? DM: People ask me how I can work with my husband. We’ve never known anything different. We’ve always worked together. It would be strange to have him leave the house from 9 until 5 and not be there to help him collaborate. And we don’t really fight. MD: But when one of us is operating the camera or a microphone and makes an amateur mistake, the other one glares and comments. DM: Oh yeah. That happened yesterday. MD: We will argue passionately to prove a point, but whoever is the director is in charge of the project. -- Daria Matza teaches Cinema 107 and 104, as well as Multimedia 108, 210 and 801. Mark Devendorf teaches Cinema 5 and Multimedia 210. (L) Mark, Daria and their four-year-old daughter Sienna Photo by Sean McDonald. (R) Styria movie poster.

photo by lynn levitt

Coming together Non-profit captures new Valley art scene


By Lynn Levitt he San Fernando Valley is getting an art facelift thanks to the efforts of the 11:11 Creative Collective – A San Fernando Valley Art Collective. The nonprofit organization is the brainchild of former Pierce College student Erin Stone along with her friend and muse Addy Renteria. “We had the vision of transforming the San Fernando Valley (SFV), into an art filled community with galleries, art centers, and a cohesive collective of artists who work, collaborate and support each other,” Stone said. “We aimed to create art festivals within the 818, erect public art and murals, and change the stigma around the 818 of being only a suburb and having to go over the hill to experience arts and culture.” Stone and Renteria came up with a plan and quickly hosted a fundraiser for family and friends that raised over $2000 to throw their first set of art shows in the San Fernando Valley, which they fondly called the 818. In 2011, the Canoga Park Art Walk came into being, which in its third year shut down the streets of downtown historic Canoga Park and filled them with over 300 artists and artisans, live artists, muralists, live music stage, food trucks and children’s art stations. In 2013 a mural project began that has completed over half a dozen murals with ten more planned by the end of this year. In 2014, the 11:11Creative Collective moved into a gallery space in Tarzana and has curated five exhibits showcasing some of the best Los Angeles and SFV artists. It is the only gallery of its kind in the region. The very first photo shoot Stone and



ERIN STONE 11:11 Creative Collective her friend did together, Renteria thought to herself, she’s in her element, she’s awesome and I think I’m going to be really good friends with her. Renteria wasn’t wrong at all. “I’ve had the privilege of knowing Erin for the past seven years and in that time she’s become not only one of my closest friends, but my business partner and creative collaborator,” Renteria said. “She’s a force of nature and a dynamic, multi-faceted creative human being. One of the most hard working people I know, dedicated and diligent when it comes to executing any project she gets behind.” Stone has had many stints at Pierce, starting with a major in Philosophy. She then found herself taking photography classes under adjunct assistant professor of photography instructor, Sean McDonald. McDonald felt Stone was one of, if not the most talented, students he had seen in the time she was a Pierce. “She took it to the next level of creativity. She has a vision above the rest, “ McDonald said. “She actually challenged others who were in the class with her, I want more like her.” Being on the campus magazine, the Bull

was a fun experience for Stone. She found that it pushed her to think as a photojournalist, which at that point she had not done. “Erin Stone’s creativity is amazing and unending,” Ava Weintraub, photographer, said. “When we needed ideas for a Bull Magazine she came through with a unique design that fit the theme perfectly. She is a “go to” artist.” Stone just wanted to study things that interested her. In 2008, she traveled India and Nepal alone for six months. She taught herself how to shoot with her Nikon at locations that filled her with inspiration. Her camera was cathartic; it allowed her to get to know herself and enjoy the tranquility of being on her own. “I was one of those students that couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do until I picked up a camera,” Stone said. “I had the goal of transferring to art school, but upon further research, I realized that the cost was extremely overwhelming. Her work tends to be an exploration of herself and as she continues to explore, she looks forward to taking her knowledge and sharing the beauty of photography with others as she accomplishes her goal of being a curator and fine artist.


ot o




rt ho

va n


JEFF FAVRE Assistant Professor, Pierce Newest prof does all in Media Arts field By Rob O’Neil


hat old slap at educators – “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” – belies the skills and breadth of the Media Arts faculty at Pierce College. Jeff Favre, the newest fulltime professor, disproves such cheap shot in his classrooms where, depending on the semester, he teaches newswriting, magazine production, broadcasting, multi-media, cinema and online reporting. But he still also works -- depending on the week, day or even the hour -- as a reporter, theater critic, editor, webcaster, video blogger and podcaster. Why the heavy focus on media-related matters? “I’m not really good at anything else,” he laughs. Part of it might be in the genes. His grandfather, Alphonse Gregory Favre,



Breaking it down

owned the Sea Coast Echo in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Jeff’s father, Gregory Favre, began as a reporter for the Echo, then worked westward for half a dozen papers, ending up as executive editor of the Sacramento Bee. But the nudge that brought Jeff Favre into the field came as it does for many of his Pierce students -- the community college route – when he enrolled in a journalism class at Sacramento City College. “I’ve always liked to hear peoples’ stories,” said Favre, whose journalism degrees come from Indiana and Northwestern universities. “I like features, and I love arts. I love entertainment, and I love television, film and theater. “Because I’ve been privileged to do experience all these things, it allows me to teach what it’s like when someone is getting ready for a career in media.” Favre is particularly pleased with Pierce’s broadcasting and multi-media courses. is housed in a new, fully-equipped, soundproofed studio with professional microphones and recording equipment. Its most popular program, “Game On,” focusing on (what else) gaming, which is produced by student Brittany

Brown, enjoys a thousand hits per show. Other segments are devoted to local people and issues, ranging from vegans and local sports to documentaries on ‘pet perks’ and drunken driving. Entrée into the broadcasting field often comes through a single course, Radio Programming and Production. “Without any pre-requisites, we give you the keys to the car,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people have ended up getting internships right out of class … it happens every semester.” Multi-media classes, including Basic Digital Video Production for New Media, Digital Editing, and Interactive Journalism and Social Media, give Pierce students training which is infused into the other media arts disciplines: journalism, cinema, broadcasting, public relations and photography. “My goal is to make sure that whatever job people are going to go into in communications, they are prepared to handle all aspects of multimedia, because today’s jobs each of our disciplines in the Media Arts Department are heavy with multimedia. I want them to be ready for anything that is thrown at them.”


Associate Degree in Journalism Major Core Courses


JOURNAL 100 Social Values in Mass Communication JOURNAL 101 Collecting and Writing News JOURNAL 217 & Publication Laboratory JOURNAL 219 Techniques for Staff Editors

3 3 2 1


JOURNAL 220 Magazine Editing


BRDCSTG 10 Radio Programming and Production



If course(s) below was taken for the required core, it may not be used to meet this area.

List A: Select one course (3 units):

Transfer in two years GUARANTEED

GO ON TO SELECT CAL STATES: Chico Fullerton Dominguez Hills Humboldt East Bay Long Beach For more information, visit:

Monterey Bay Pomona Sacramento

MULTIMD 801 Multimedia Storytelling JOURNAL 202 Advanced Newswriting PUB REL 1 Principles of Public Relations PHOTO 20 Beginning Photojournalism JOURNAL 251 Visual Communication in Mass Media JOURNAL 218 Practical Editing

3 3 3 4 3 3

List B: Select two courses (6 units) from the following: PHOTO 101 Beginning Digital Photography MATH 227 Statistics

3 4


STAT 1 Elem. Statistics I for the Social Sciences PUB REL 1 Principles of Public Relations POL SCI 1 The Government of the United States POL SCI 2 Modern World Governments English 103 Composition and Critical Thinking COMM 4 Argumentation MAJOR – TOTAL UNITS

3 3 3 3 3 3



Pierce College Media Arts Department Magazine  

The Pierce College Media Arts Department's latest magazine showcases the department, alumni and its new transfer degree.

Pierce College Media Arts Department Magazine  

The Pierce College Media Arts Department's latest magazine showcases the department, alumni and its new transfer degree.