Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


APTRA Academy
Mentors and Students speak out

For those unfamiliar with this very unusual hands on workshop, everything in the Academy was designed to be fake. We were doing a fake story at a fake news event for a fake television station. The made-up station, Malibu News 12 was complete with a newsroom-type management.

KTVX General Manager Steve Cohen, whose been a News Director before played News 12's News Director. KGET Producer Bob Dlugos from Bakersfield was our producer. KCOP Director Dan Hattal played the same role for the Academy. KNTV's Sabrina Hughes Assignment Editor was our Assignment Manager. Everything was simulated.

But, as they look back, some of those involved got something very real from their weekend. It was truly a real eyeopener when America attacked Afghanistan during the second day of the Academy. Since we didn't have cable or satellite television access in Malibu Canyon, students & mentors were standing around car radios listening to CNN's description of what was transpiring. There was a chilling stillness in the air as we all listened to President Bush.

Here are some students & mentor thoughts on APTRA Academy 2001:
Sal Flores Photographer KYMA-TV Yuma, Arizona
"I went as a mentor and left like a student. I can't express how much I learned this past weekend, it woke up a feeling that had been asleep for years."
Phil Shuman/Mentor/Extra!:
"'The academy was really well thought out and well executed. The students were really into it and dedicated and hopefully got a lot out of it. Glad I was able to help out.''
Matt Brennan/Student/Attorney:
"I've been considering a career change for a long time and I came this weekend for professional inspiration. When the news broke on Sunday (the attack on Afghanistan), I had goosebumps watching all these professionals (calling into their stations to see if they were needed at work), realizing it's a 24/7 job.
It's really a lifestyle more than a job."
Melissa Simpson/Student/Boise Idaho:
" APTRA Academy 2001 was the best reporting seminar I have attended; with breaking reports and unexpected rescues, it was as close to "real" as it gets. Without a doubt, the heart and soul of the Academy is the mentors who volunteer their time and part of themselves to help aspiring reporters. It is an experience that changes the way you look at the news, life, and yourself; you come away a different person. Sunday's events (the attack on Afghanistan) made the academy more powerful."
Heidi Reinhard/Student:
"Wonderful experience. Mentors were a wealth of knowledge. Best hands-on experience. Since we worked on breaking news, Sunday's attack on Afghanistan proved that this really happens and you always have to be ready."
Patricia Friedman/Student/Northern California:
"The Anchor academy gave me the motivation to keep striving for my goal."

Veronica De La Cruz/Student:
"I think the weekend was extremely successful, and I want you to know - it confirmed my beliefs that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life."

Allison Robbins/Student:
"It was truly a profound learning experience for me, and one I will treasure always. A thousand thanks"
David Goldstein/Mentor/KCAL TV Reporter:
"I had a great time. It was great to see the spirit and energy of aspiring journalists. I wish I had a program like this when I was learning the business."
Sabrina Hughes/Mentor/KNTV TV Assignment Editor:
"I had so much fun. I can't wait till next year and I am already getting other people excited about it. We had a great group of people who put fantastic stories together. Not to mention the great job by L.A. County Fire."
Captain Brian Jordan/L.A. County Fire Department PIO:
"Awesome. I learned so much here. It taught us how to handle a news conference. (The students) were some very aggressive reporters."
Kirk Hawkins/Student, UCSB:
"I learned it's a lot of hard work to put a package together. I'm amazed at how little time it takes professionals. I will definitely come back next year."
Lance Orozco/Mentor/KOCE TV Anchor-Reporter:
"It was a blast! I had a great time!"
Tom Galligan/Student/Atlanta, Georgia Sales-Marketing Manager:
"Very good. Exposed me to a profession I didn't have a background on. Insightful. Mentors are excellent."
Sarah Acevedo/Mentor/Freelance Reporter KVEA Telemundo:
"I feel lucky to have met such bright students. The weekend felt real and it was incredibly fun. Had a blast! Sunday's events (the attack on Afghanistan) remind us of why our job is important and to take it seriously."
Miguel Luevano/Student:
"Indescribable for my self-esteem. Learned so much and got so much positive feedback from the mentors."

Hector Gonzalez/Mentor/KMEX TV San Diego Photographer:
"Very gratifying experience."

Sylvia Contreras/Student/San Jose State:
"Great. Unforgettable experience. Mentors are helpful. I won't forget it."
Raul Collazo/Student/Las Vegas:
"It was beyond my expectations. The sense of spirituality of the mentors was so positive, it rubbed off on the students."

Charmaine Dixon/Student/Freelance Writer-Producer:
"My overall impression was that it was an amazing experience. It was a great baptism by fire. I was overwhelmed by the mentors -- how seriously they take it."
Mary-Rose Abraham/Student/Copy Editor and former Reporter/Anchor:
"It was a great re-introduction to the challenge and thrill of TV. Learning from such talented mentors and working alongside other students with the same passion was the highlight of the program.