• CSUN journalism graduation

JAA raises $7,000 at 60th Reunion

Upgrades to student spaces, such as the Emery Reading Room, are in the offing, thanks to the funds raised by members of the Journalism Alumni Association (JAA), during CSUN’s 60thAnniversary celebrations on campus, last fall.

Journalism's 60th reunion festivities, jointly hosted by JAA, the department and the Oviatt Library, attracted more than 100 people, including alums going back to the ‘60s, former and current professors and current students, who helped out. The Department’s dinner event – featuring live and silent auctions and s special edition of The Sundial – was a reminder of the long-standing relationship between the department and the JAA. Board members and many others worked months in advance to organize the event that raised $7,000 for the Department.

JAA is one of the oldest department-based groups at CSUN and works as a bridge to connect newer grads with alums, who can help them build their network and careers.

"The Journalism Department has produced more than 5,000 alums, many of whom work for newspapers, radio and television stations, online outlets, public relations and marketing firms," said JAA President Bob Rawitch, Class of 1965. “Traditionally, the organization has supported the department by providing one or two scholarships every year and helping with networking events. The Department, for all these 60 years, has always had faculty who are very engaging and supportive of students.” 

The money raised from the silent and live auctions that took place during the reunion dinner on Oct. 13 will be used to upgrade a reading room located next to the Department offices, create a more student-friendly environment and enhance students' sense of belonging, said Department Chair Linda Bowen.

JAA has been assisting the Journalism Department in many ways in recent years, including helping with the department’s annual Career Day in spring and Speed Mentoring in fall.The continuation of such support, including the focus on careers and scholarships from JAA, is very important to the department, said Bowen.

The reunion, held on campus in the USU’s Northridge Center, also celebrated the completion of The Oviatt Library’s massive project to digitally archive every edition of The Sundial, going back to February 1957 – more than a year before the university’s beginning.

More than 70 items were up for grabs in the silent and live auction on Oct. 13 including a weekend get-away to Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, tickets to Southland amusement parks, the L.A. Philharmonic and the Soraya. Tickets and gift packages for sporting organizations including the Dodgers, Clippers, Angels and Diamondbacks plus signed books written by journalism alums, such as former Los Angeles Times' sports reporter Steve Springer and former pop music critic Robert Hilburn.

– By contributor Omar Shahriar

Distinguished Alumni honors, more accolades

With more than 5,300 alumni since its inception in 1958, the Journalism Department’s faculty and staff maintain strong and longstanding ties to the profession and related careers. Many graduates are well-known, such as CNBC’s Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth, who both have been honored as CSUN Distinguished Alumni, and former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle. Also among the notables is Milt Valera, who founded the National Notary Association. He will be among those honored on April 13, at the 2019 CSUN Distinguished Alumni Awards gala.

Hundreds more graduates are well represented across the spectrum of both legacy and new media outlets not just in Los Angeles but across the U.S. and around the world. Many recent graduates, including Makenna Sievertson, Clarissa Rojas and Angel Silva, are practicing journalism and related professions at a wide array of organizations. They all also participated in the prestigious CSUN in DC Internship program.

Last week, Sievertson joined the U.S. House of Representatives' Radio Television Correspondents' Gallery, which serves as a liaison between Congressional offices and the news media. Major broadcast new organizations have staff bureaus in the office, which includes a studio, for use by congressional representatives for press conferences and related activities.

Sievertson, who was a reporter/photographer for The Sundial, previously served as an intern for Congresswoman Doris Matsui, where she assisted with communications, such as press inquires, press releases and in social media postings. 

Silva, who now works in the Baltimore mayor's office, was among those profiled in a Roll Call piece about the difficult barriers DACA recipients still face on the Hill.

Rojas recently accepted a staff position with 44th Congressional District Rep. Nanette Barragán in Washington, D.C. She was pictured at the State of the Union of Clarissa with Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Barragán.