The Next American Media Makers is composed of successful news and media production professionals who have “lived” this experience. We are reporters, producers, writers, editors, videographers, and media executives.

 

More importantly, we are culturally and racially representative of the students we teach and have ourselves overcome challenges to succeed in this industry. We not only understand the obstacles that must be transcended to gain access to this workforce, we have worked at a high skill level and enjoyed considerable national and international success.

THE FOUNDER

Victor Abalos spent his entire professional life helping people tell their stories. He spent more than twenty years as a print and broadcast journalist covering conflict in Central America in the late 80’s then as a national affairs producer for CBS News, ABC News, Fox News and PBS’s Newshour. Prior to that he worked as a reporter, producer and executive producer for newsrooms in Los Angeles, Denver and Tucson, Arizona. He also served as News Director for KVEA-TV, Telemundo.

After leaving the news business, Victor created the JVA Group, a strategic communications and public affairs consulting agency where his team helps public and private sector clients find better ways to connect with and influence their most important audiences.His clients at the JVA Group have included LA Unified School District, LA Community College District, Compton Unified SD, NALEO, California Forward, First 5 LA, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

THE INSTRUCTORS

Lisceth Brazil-Cruz (Evaluation, Instructor Training)

Lisceth holds a doctoral degree in School Organization and Educational Policy from the University of California, Davis. Her research interests include educational and pipeline issues affecting disenfranchised, underserved and vulnerable student populations as well as issues of equity among communities of color. Her dissertation focused on understanding parental practices of Latino first-generation college students as they transition from high school to college.

In addition to her research, she is committed to increase the number of underrepresented and underserved communities in graduate and professional school. Currently, her research focuses on understanding the predictive and protective factors that promote women of color in STEM fields. She earned an M.A. in Mexican American Studies at San Jose State University. Lisceth attended UC Davis as an undergraduate student. She majored in International Relations and Chican@ Studies, with a minor in Education.

Maria Garcia (Instructor)

María García has more than 20 years of experience working with the Latino community in the United States in journalism, research, translation, communications consulting and content production. Her main projects have been for television as well as for many digital platforms, with an emphasis recently in biographical books and television series.

Maria started her career in radio and soon made the leap to television as a reporter for Channel 14 Univision in San Francisco. From local news she became a Primar Impacto correspondent, followed by 5 years as the head of Telemundo KVEA-52’s investigative unit in Los Angeles. During this period, Maria received more than 15 Emmy nominations receiving top honors for the best investigative report of the year. Maria has also been awarded several Golden Mics, an NHJA award, and was a member of the team garnering the most prestigious television journalism honor, the Edward R. Murrow Award.

In addition to being an award-winning journalist, María is also a best-selling author. Her first book includes Perdón (Atria-Simon & Schuster), Chiquis Rivera's memoirs, which reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, USA Today and e-books.
With her current job at Juris Productions, María continues to bring her expertise to the service of the community to improve the lives of Latino families whose stories, Maria believes, need to be told.

Stephon Litwinczuk (Instructor)

Stephon grew up in rural New Hampshire and ventured to California in 2001 where he spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America), AKA “The domestic Peace Corps.” That experience shaped his journey to LA with a focus on visual anthropology/documentary filmmaking. He graduated with honors in 2005 from California State University, LA and spent all his semesters there as the Teacher Assistant to the documentary filmmaking and live TV production class. 

For a decade, Stephon has been working on documentaries that have garnered three Emmy nominations. He produced his own film “Falling Up!” in 2012 about the transformational journey of a homeless, Vietnam Veteran crack addict on the streets of “Skid Row.” Stephon is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and lives in Culver city with his wife and twin sons.

Nadine Ono (Instructor)

Nadine Ono is a journalist, public relations consultant and a soccer mom.  She started her career in television news as a writer for Los Angeles’ KCOP News. There she learned the importance of deadlines and brevity.

After several years, Ono moved into the public relations arena. At Edelman PR, she helped launch the City of Los Angeles’ Recycling Program.

Then she moved to Bragman/Nyman/Cafarelli (now PMK•BNC) where she rose to Vice President. Her clients included such fashion brands as Diamond Information Center (DeBeers), Salvatore Ferragamo, Clinique, Levi’s Jeans and Bloomingdales. She also worked on social causes such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Tanqueray AIDS Rides.


Ono is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of the University of Oregon.

Antonio Ogaz (Instructor)


Antonio is a dynamic, creative media professional with 20 + years of experience planning and directing production and post-production operations for diverse clients ranging from ESPN, entertainment companies to non-profit and government entities. Talented producer/director, editor and project manager with a proven ability to develop quality work aimed at enhancing client satisfaction to captivate audiences.

Elissa J. Granger (Assistant Instructor)

 

Elissa J. Granger is a writer and native of South Central Los Angeles, California. Elissa studied Visual Communications and Multimedia Design at American Intercontinental University from 2003 – 2007. From there, Elissa continued her education in 2007-2009 at Los Angeles Southwest College to study Communications and Journalism.

Elissa is grounded by the principles and morals that her family instilled in her as a child. She says a lot of her achievement and dedication is due to her commitment to giving her 10-year-old daughter the life she dreams of and showing her with hard work and focus she can achieve anything.

THE ADVISORY BOARD

Ed Coghlan

 

Ed’s career began in broadcast journalism. He was Corporate News Director for the highly successful four-station Montana Television Network and then was hired to build a prime-time news operation at KCOP in Los Angeles. Under his guidance, KCOP garnered the highest news ratings in the station’s history. KCOP was awarded the LA Press Club’s Best Newscast award. He also appeared on camera in anchoring and commentary roles.

Since 2002, Coghlan has provided external communications consulting services for a number of companies and organizations including Abbott AMO, Bausch + Lomb, Boston Scientific, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District, the Oldtimers Foundation, First 5 Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

For the past twenty years, he has developed and directed media strategy and training seminars for clients including corporations, public agencies, authors and political candidates. He previously taught journalism at the University of Great Falls, Montana, (his alma mater), California State University at Northridge and UCLA.

Raymond Telles

 

Raymond's thirty-five year career in film and television includes the production of numerous documentaries and segments for PBS, ABC, NBC, National Geographic, Discovery and Univision. Among the documentaries Telles has produced and directed are:  Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey (American Masters), The Storm that Swept Mexico, The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle, Children of the Night (Frontline) and The Peril and The Promise- 6 of the PBS series “Latino Americans.”

Among the honors these programs have received are the Columbia DuPont, Peabody, Emmy and Alma awards.

Telles is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Artist in Residence at the Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Liliana Aide Monge

 

Liliana is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sabio, an innovative social enterprise working to increase the number of women, and people of color that become professional software engineers.  Since its inception, 75% of its graduates are either Latino or African American, and 40% are women, which is 10% higher than the industry average. Sabio offers training to anyone that is highly motivated and no prior technical experience is needed. 

Liliana was born in Northern Mexico, and came to the states when she was 5 years old.  She lived in Los Angeles for most of her childhood with her mother and older Sister.  She attended Wellesley College and graduated with a BA in Biology in 1999.  Since then she has made Los Angeles her home, alongside her Co-Founder, and husband, Gregorio Rojas, where they are currently raising their two little boys.

Bill Britt

 

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Bill is an Emmy award winning news reporter who covered politics and education issues in West Palm Beach, Denver and Baltimore before moving to Los Angeles in 1993. Since then his various roles in the communications and broadcast industry have included Communications Coordinator for the Southern California Latino Policy Center, and a writer/producer for virtually every entertainment news show in Los Angeles.

In addition to writing blogs and news articles on California’s political, economic and educational landscape, he has co-produced a variety of feature stories and special events including a one-hour tribute to Whitney Houston and the one-hour special, “BET Salutes: 12 Years A Slave.”


Britt’s long list of assignments included travels to Montana, New York, London, Puerto Rico and Venice, Italy to conduct a wide variety of celebrity interviews.

Alex Epstein

 

Alex serves as the creative, strategy and management lead on national public education programs and initiatives of the National Safety Council, managing creative teams that develop digital content in all its forms, including social media, videos, websites, apps, games, promotions, etc. in support of the NSC mission to eliminate preventable deaths.

He currently spearheads the NSC Advanced Automotive Safety Technology initiative and its public facing MyCarDoesWhat national driver education campaign on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and vehicle automation. Alex also manages and directs the Market Research and Creative Services functions at NSC.

                                               

Alex has extensive broadcast TV news experience, having worked for the Gannett Corporation in the L.A. Bureau of the USA Today On TV national television news program, as well as for the Walt Disney Company as senior producer/special projects for KCAL-TV News Los Angeles, where he wrote and produced television programs, series, specials and mini-documentaries. Alex has received numerous national and local awards for his work, ranging from a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award, to LA Press Club, Edward R. Murrow, AP, California Bar Association and others. For corporate work, he and his team was recognized by PR Week magazine for executive producing the Video News Release of the Year, PR News Platinum award, North American Excellence Award in PR and others.

 

A native of New York City, he began in broadcast television at the CBS affiliate in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is a graduate Bennington College and the Yale University School of Organization and Management.

 

Alex is a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, in the Producer Peer Group.

Angelica Quiroga

Angelica is an award-winning broadcast news executive and currently serving as the Nightside Executive Producer for Fox 11 News. She comes with nearly two decades of broadcast news experience. Prior to joining Fox she lead news production for KVEA Telemundo for ten years during which time she also produced nightly newscasts and special events projects. Before that Angelica was the Operations Manager for the Telemundo station in San Jose. Angelica has a passion for covering news and making connections in LA's diverse communities. She also understands the critical role digital news content plays in social media.

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