“Learning the tools of the trade, making connections, learning how to become a multimedia journalist is what inspires me to chase my dreams,” said a motivated Tanner Nava.
Many future journalists have the drive to make it to “big time” media outlets such as New York and Los Angeles, but know they must crawl before walking. In many ways, the MEA department at COC did just that.
“I got to COC in the fall of 1998 and at that time the department was radio and television. It was very basic,” said Dave Brill, the head of the MEA department. “At the time, journalism was its own department, and the department needed some journalism students.”
In 2009, a multi-million dollar makeover bolstered the department and catapulted MEA into the department it is now.
“The upgrades to the department give students the whole package and gets stronger every year. The journalism department wanted to combine print and TV to work together and become what we know as COC Cougar News,” said Brill.
By merging the programs into one, trouble came and classes struggled to stay alive.
“When [former journalism chair James Ruebsamen] retired,” said Brill. “COC shut down the old newspaper, Canyon Call, and turned to me and mentioned the starting up of the online program, and the merging came quicker than we thought. All JOUR classes became MEA.”
Since 2009, the MEA department features animation, audio, journalism, and film.
Many students who walk through the third floor of Mentry Hall notice the “On-Air” sign and often wonder what is behind that big, red sign.
“I have always been interested in audio, but when I signed up for MEA 125, I got to learn what goes into making a news package, and how I can translate my audio skills into the newsroom is what motivated me,” said COC student Richard Andal.
Andal started taking classes in 2016 and fell in love with the department.
“Taking almost all of the MEA classes instructed by industry pros has given me a huge confidence boost and I also know I can get to where I want with the connection both my professors and I have made,” said Andal.
“When I first started taking classes I wanted to become an on-air sports anchor. However, if it wasn’t for Dave Brill showing me and instructing me how to become a better on-air talent I don’t think I would be in the department,” said Nava, an MEA student. “The opportunities to become a broadcast journalist, getting to interview athletes and coaches at the campus, and even doing hard news stories has really shown me the department does care about its students. Also, the department has broadcast quality equipment that some four-year colleges don’t have. I feel as if COC strives to make us better journalists, animators, film directors, and audio engineers better than many other colleges.”
While learning how to use news quality equipment and perfecting the craft of becoming a journalist, Brill has seen his fair share of students make it into the “news world.”
“From the news media side, former COC student and now NBC4 reporter Jonathan Gonzalez came through the gates. Kelly Nish, who is now a producer for Fox and Friends in New York. We have numerous producers in the LA market, producers in Seattle, and reporters in several states across the country. Not only is the MEA department successful in journalism we also have animators for Nickelodeon and a former student who has worked on several academy award winning films.”
Brill paused, then smiled.
“We have students in every field,” he said.