Giving back makes it all worthwhile for Eisner
By KARISSA S. WANG
Many reporters enjoy giving back, but some may think KCOP-TV
reporter Hal Eisner is stretched too thin. He doesn't think
so, though his extracurricular activities sound exhausting.
Mr. Eisner is on the board of governors of the Academy of
Television Arts & Sciences, and he is in his sixth year
as executive producer of the Los Angeles Emmy Awards, which
will take place on June 29. This month marks the first anniversary
of his Web site, www.haleisner.com. He is VP of the Associated
Press Television and Radio Association for this year and will
be its president next year.
Two years ago Mr. Eisner founded the APTRA Academy. The two-day
workshop for aspiring broadcasters is held annually in October
at the Cottontail Ranch in Malibu, Calif., in partnership
with Pepperdine University. There is a limit of 24 students
per class, and more than 50 professional journalists such
as KCBS-TV reporter/anchor Jonathan Elias, KCOP anchor Rick
Chambers and KTLA-TV reporter Ted Garcia volunteer their time
News stories in the class are simulated. Each student leaves
with a tape of his or her completed story.
"It's an immersion process," Mr. Eisner said. "We've
had five students who are now on TV in small markets in the
United States. To get a job you need to have the tape. Three
of those students had a tape with only the APTRA academy piece
on it. So we have success stories."
Last year the program added an "anchor academy"
using the TV studio at Pepperdine University. This year a
radio news academy will be offered as well.
Mr. Eisner has been working in the Los Angeles television
market for 21 years, starting with a job at the CNN bureau
there. He later worked at Fox-owned KTTV and took on some
Originally from Texas, he once worked as an anchor/reporter
at a Houston radio station where current KTTV anchor Steve
Edwards was the program director. He said Mr. Edwards was
one of the many people who were supportive of his career.
"There were a lot of people who made a difference in
my life," Mr. Eisner said.
KTTV and KCOP are now sister stations, both owned by News
Corp. Mr. Eisner, who is married with three kids, works on
KCOP's 10 p.m. newscast. Things could change when KCOP moves
into the KTTV building, which is expected to occur some time
After work Mr. Eisner sits down at his computer to work on
his Web site. He recently hired a webmaster and has put his
own money into the site, which has become a popular destination
for people in the news business. "There are a lot of
news sites out there, but a lot were gossip sites," he
said. "There wasn't a site that encompasses what I was
interested in-the high road for professional journalists.
People say nice things about it, and I'm very proud of it."#
© Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications