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Written by Peter Martinez   
April 06, 2008 23:00

FOX News Channel College Challenge

FULLERTON, CA (April 7, 2008) — A group of four students from California State University, Fullerton won this year’s FOX News Channel national video news competition valued at $20,000. The group splits $10,000 while the CSUF Department of Communications receives the other half.

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Carla Franco, Sabrina Johnson, Peter Martinez, and Robert Moran submitted a news package titled SoCal Immigration: Law, Labor, Liberty. The video features an interview with James Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, a professor of sociology, a border smuggler, and a documented housekeeper.

CSUF Win $20,000

On Friday, April 25, the group will be featured on FOX & Friends between 7 and 9 a.m. EST to talk about their video and their experience (tune in around the 5 a.m. hour on the West Coast).

FOX News will pay for everyone’s round-trip flight to their studios in New York City, cover ground transportation costs and hotel accommodations along with $150 spending money for the students

 FOX News Prize Details

Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of Communications, Dr. Brent M. Foster, served as the group’s faculty advisor and will also be a part of the New York trip.

"This is a national spotlight for the University. It exemplifies the strength of our students and the Broadcast Journalism program here at Cal State Fullerton," Foster said.  "I’m very proud of these guys, they did it all on their own."

 Brent Foster

All four students were in Brent Foster’s radio news production class at CSUF when they decided to take on the challenge near the end of the fall 2007 semester – working through their Christmas Break to meet the December 31 deadline.

The FOX News Channel "College Challenge" was created to recognize, encourage and support excellence in broadcast journalism programs across the country. The contest is open to two- or four-person student teams from universities with bachelor degrees in communications, broadcast journalism, journalism or their equivalent. FOX News offered up 12 topics for the teams to select from in making their videos, which could not exceed three and a half minutes. The Cal State Fullerton team chose "Illegal Aliens: Let Them Stay or Move Them Out?"


Peter Martinez, 21, CSUF senior, remembers how the group decided upon immigration.

"It all boiled down to the logistics – what contacts were available for each topic, how accessible was it to tape video footage, and what would make an interesting story relevant to not only Southern California but the entire nation. Producing a package about immigration was a timely topic and really our best option."

Peter Martinez
Peter Martinez, broadcast journalism student, taping near the San Diego-Mexico border.

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Carla Franco, 27, CSUF senior, interviewed a smuggler who has been caught three times by authorities.

"I’m ecstatic about winning this competition. We each brought something unique to the production of the news package and we can now see that it really paid off," she said.

James Gilchrist 

Robert Moran, 30, CSUF senior, landed an interview with James Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project. He invited both Moran and Martinez into his home for about an hour to talk on-camera about immigration and its impact on the United States.

"I felt that when we were working on this project everything came together like magic," Moran said. "For me, having Asperger’s Syndrome made this award extra special because it’s proof that any obstacle can be overcome."

Tomas Jimenez 

Sabrina Johnson, 27, who has since graduated from CSUF, provided the group with two interviews: a UC San Diego professor of sociology and a housekeeper who fled an abusive husband in Mexico so that she could support her family with a job in the United States.

"Immigration is an influential topic to me because I grew up watching very special people in my life clean homes for freedom and a better life. Working on this project gave each of us the opportunity to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and gave us the chance to demonstrate our skills and passions," Johnson said.

Josephina Ochoa 

FOX News had strict guidelines for the group to follow – meaning any mistake could disqualify their entry. According to their website, each news package couldn’t exceed three and a half minutes; there was to be no mention or display of student names or university they attend; include on-screen identification for all interviewees; and of course the entry had to be judged against videos from perhaps 100 to 200 schools. There is only one winning entry per year.

FOX News Channel Judging Criteria 

Martinez, who has held an internship at KABC and an Emma Bowen Foundation three-year paid summer internship at KCET, taped all the interviews and footage with his own broadcast camera. After all the field production was completed, the group spent time choosing what parts of the interviews to use, developed a script, and Martinez recorded the voiceover.

During the post-production video editing, he knew that the group had a big potential in winning the competition.

"I just had that feeling that all the pieces were coming together, and I knew that our video was going to surpass the judging criteria," Martinez said. "This is such a big opportunity for us to showcase the future of broadcast journalism, and make our professor proud while putting Cal State Fullerton in the spotlight as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary."

 U.S. - Mexico Border

Members of the winning team who are junior, undergraduate students and attending classes in the Fall of 2008 as seniors, are eligible for an unpaid, Summer 2008 internship at the FOX News Channel in New York City, provided they satisfy all standard internship requirements per FOX News policies. Members of the winning team who are seniors will be invited to interview for an entry level position with the FOX News Network.

"During the time we put this news package together we learned a great deal about each other, including the passion we have for great news reporting. The four of us are hard-working and dedicated individuals, who I truly believe will have a bright future in mass media communications," Franco said.

 U.S. - Mexico Border

The Cal State Fullerton Department of Communications can use the $10,000 towards scholarships, grants or new equipment.

SoCal Immigration: Law, Labor, Liberty can be seen online at www.rePetePro.com and YouTube.
Brent Foster
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Last Updated on April 28, 2008 14:25



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