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Students Create CSUF’s First Spanish News Broadcast

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Once a week, a dark studio in the basement of Pollak Library is abuzz with the deadline pressure of a newscast — “Al Día,” Cal State Fullerton’s first Spanish-language broadcast.

As the show’s executive producer, Andrés Martinez urges one student, in Spanish, to tape a weather segment before evening rain hits. Other students simultaneously transform the day’s news to Spanish scripts about world politics, campus events, entertainment and sports.

“This gives me a reality check,” said communications student Genesis Miranda, who is an executive producer for “Al Día” and the University’s English broadcast, “OC News.”

“A lot of people depend on you to meet that deadline and doing that gives an employer a feeling that they can trust you with bigger assignments and stories,” she said.

Communications lecturer Beth Georges admits it’s a classroom unlike most. It’s built to replicate the sometimes stressful atmosphere of a broadcast newsroom, and yet most of the students producing this 15- to 20-minute show are volunteers.

“Al Día” first aired on Sept. 30. The weekly program is an opportunity for bilingual students to gain career experience in Spanish-language television and valuable on-camera time required for job applications.

The idea, Georges said, came from talking with her bilingual students, many who already produce “OC News” in the upper-division Advanced Electronic News Production course. Inspired by the interest from her bilingual students, Georges said she’d like the program to evolve to a nightly show and a class taught in Spanish.

For now, “Al Día” isn’t a class, but practical experience paired with the two-year-old Latino Communications Initiative’s aim to develop an industry-ready, qualified workforce by offering course and certificate programs in Latino-oriented communication studies.

“We didn’t want it to be just a translation of our English show ‘OC News,’ so we had to come up with a working system with producers and students who take charge of what’s in the show,” said Georges.

Inez González, LCI director, said she’s enjoying seeing the students take ownership.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to get experience in front of the camera,” she said.  

The show is transmitted to more than 100,000 Time Warner subscribers and it’s getting attention, not just from CSUF and the surrounding communities, but from Spanish-language broadcast and public relations companies.

The news director of a Telemundo station in Oklahoma City was watching and needed a producer, Georges said. “Al Día” executive producer Martinez recently got hired to fill the position. He starts in January.

“As we start spreading the word, there’s going to be great demand in placing our students,” said Georges.

Where to find “Al Día”

 “Al Día” aires on YouTube and is transmitted weekly on Time Warner’s channel 98 and AT&T’s U-verse’s channel 99. The program is produced weekly, on alternating Mondays and Wednesdays.