Learning From the Pros

Industry professionals provide students with hands-on experience.

Marissa Chavez, Contributing Writer

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The Television, Film & Media Studies (TVFM) Department teamed up with Golden Eagle Radio on Friday, Oct. 26, to host the first annual Entertainment Reporting Symposium.


This was an all day event at the U-SU Theatre with panels, workshops and seminars from some of today’s top industry professionals. Those who attended were hosts from entertainment stations such as ET, Access and Extra, reporters from ABC7 and MSNBC, including an array of publicists, producers and editors from various media productions.


Over a dozen experienced panelists gave their definition of news and offered advice on how to tell a story and get involved in the industry.


Recent Cal State LA graduate and former Golden Eagle Radio President, Sophie Biggs, is now the Digital Content Producer at Power 106 FM. Since graduating three years ago, she has thrived at being a Personality in the entertainment industry and still refers back to what she learned at Cal State LA.


“College is the best way to network. Don’t be afraid to be a small fish in a big pond, take each opportunity you get and always be prepared,” Biggs said. “My best advice to students is to go to a website and create your own business cards, then give them to anyone you come in contact with, even if they’re not in your field.”


Members of the panel expressed the importance of being educated in all aspects of news. This includes, production, editing and reporting since one out of seven jobs in California is connected to entertainment, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News Reporter Sid Garcia. The more skills you have, the easier it is to get your foot in the door and the greater chance you have to succeed.


There were a total of four panels held at the symposium. The common message and question from the audience was how social media has refined news. Nowadays, anyone from anywhere can pull out their cell phone and start live streaming. Bloggers and social media influencers have almost outnumbered reporters in the field and because of this, panelists encouraged those who are interested in entertainment to start branding themselves.

Television, Film & Media students were not the only people in the audience. Other majors, professors and former students joined the seminar and didn’t hesitate to ask questions.


“That panel was really great. I felt very connected to each speaker because they gave their own personal experiences and some of them talked to me afterwards and took pictures. It was awesome,” first year student Anthony Thompsan said.


TVFM Faculty Advisor, Tony Cox, was the one to thank for the opportunity to have discussion panels with media professionals. He spent the last several months coordinating the event and has focused his time to reshaping the Journalism Department. Cox felt ‘encouraged’ by the turn out this past Friday and expressed his commitment to ‘reaching back to the students’ by doing something that had never been done before.


“I hope students will take away that this is something you can do… if you adopt the right attitude and be professional, you can get there,” Cox said.


The symposium is one of the biggest events of the year for the TVFM Department. Faculty and students were thrilled to present this to the public for the first time and are looking forward to years to come.