FROM HAL: Before I write another word, I want to publicly
thank each and every one of the truly dedicated mentors that
came to APTRA Academy 2002. Volunteers, professional broadcasters
from behind and in front of the camera and public information
officers from the LA County Fire Department, the LAPD and
the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. We had mentors
from all over California -- even from other states! They worked
very hard, gave of themselves and I'm proud to count all of
them among my friends! Some of the them have even taken the
time to share with you some of their thoughts about this year's
boot camp for aspiring broadcasters. So here goes...
KCAL TV & KVEA TV Freelance Reporter
Man, was it hot! Humid, too. On top of that, the students
got heat from the assignment editor (this was mock-real, after
all), putting panic on top of pressure. And yet, these students
found strength from within themselves to keep their heads
cool and do their job! I was very impressed. I could barely
keep up! It was also great to meet the new mentors, and catch
up with people I hadn't seen in years! Which reminds me, I
have a feeling we'll be seeing our students on the air in
the not too distant future -- and I'm glad I'll be able to
say, "I knew them when.."
KTNV TV Primary Anchor
When you are learning how to swim, the first thing you have
to do is jump in the pool. At the APTRA Academy Boot Camp
for anchors, we pushed the students off the diving board into
the deep end. And they responded.
It was intense. We wanted them to feel the tension. They
did. I am so impressed with the dedication of these students
to our craft and profession.
When I was starting in broadcast journalism, I had several
people who took the time to help me. I am proud and grateful
I can return the favor.
KTTV TV Helicopter Reporter
The 2002 APTRA Reporter's Bootcamp was amazing.
The best teacher of all is experience and that is exactly
what the students got. A real time scenario complete with
fire fighters, water dropping choppers and camp crews along
with incredible actors made putting their stories together
a real life experience.
I am impressed at the caliber of the students, their dedication
and sponge like absorption made being apart of the APTRA Academy
more than a pleasure -- it was my privilege
De La Cruz
KYMA TV Anchor/ Reporter
Last year I came to APTRA Academy as a student ... and this
year a mentor! So for me it was a milestone.
Though I had done a few other things before (I worked as
an entertainment and music reporter for an internet company),
I have learned so much in the news biz and enjoyed being able
to share it with the students I met.
I realize I would never be where I am today without the help
of my own mentors, so to be able to turn around and do the
same for others was really rewarding. The students in the
anchoring academy made me proud!! I also met a lot of new
people who made my experience unforgettable.
Hal, please count me in year after year, as this is an event
I will always look forward to!
KMEX TV Photojournalist/Editor
San Diego Bureau
Last year's APTRA's workshop was almost like a religious
experience, in which everybody knew that we were in the right
place, with the right people, with the right frame of mind.
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay to the very end because of
the U.S. bombings in Afghanistan.
This year's workshop was even more intense and gratifying,
because this time I got to stay to the very end. On my way
back to San Diego, I felt so good emotionally and spiritually
knowing that I might of helped someone to feel the same passion
that I feel for this job that I love.
KCOP TV Freelance Reporter
APTRA's Bootcamp was great! It provided students with a very
realistic (and exhausting) glimpse into a field reporter's
day. The storyline was ever changing, as often it does in
"real life" and our star PIOs Brian Jordan, Roland
Sprewell, Mary Grady and Jose Martinez delivered award-winning
performances! Bravo to them and all who acted out the interesting
LAPD Public Information Director
What a weekend! Even seasoned broadcast veterans would have
had trouble keeping up with the pace of breaking news we threw
at you during your APTRA Academy weekend.
I was impressed as I watched your eager, YOUNG faces take
it all in and then produce good solid stories. Many of you
traveled far and went without sleep. That's dedication to
your craft. Remember that's the key..craft a compelling, balanced
and well told story. It's not about glitz and glamour...it
is all about being a solid journalist.
KNTV TV Assignment Editor
San Jose, CA.
Several colleagues and friends asked me on why I keep coming
back as a mentor for APTRA Academy. My answer: I love it.
To watch each one of the students to start as a rookie reporter
on Saturday morning and transform into seasoned reporter by
Sunday afternoon is amazing. This year's group was the best
yet. I have never have been so impressed with a group of individuals.
They came to work. Their stories turned out to be some of
the best I have seen to come out of the Academy.
My job was to give them a dose of reality as their assignment
manager. I treated each student the same way I treat my reporters
in my newsroom. I was constantly on them and made sure they
were getting their facts into the newsroom. They impressed
me every step of the way.
Hal Eisner and the rest of the mentors did a fantastic job
and each student walked away with a tape they should be proud
to show to anyone. To anyone thinking about doing this next
year, student or mentor: DO IT!!! It will be the most rewarding
weekend that you will have in a long time
Former KTTV Sports Anchor
Police cars with sirens wailing and lights flashing.....and
a helicopter flying by dropping water on it's intended target.
Gee, sportscaster camp was never like this! My first stint
as a mentor for the annual APTRA Academy was an eye opener
on many levels. The lengths that Hal Eisner and his staff
went to create a realistic story for academy campers was nothing
short of amazing. And the quality of the mentors were also
first rate. Actual L.A. and former LA news anchors and reporters
willing to answer any ...and I mean ANY journalistic question.
They provided tips and even manned the cameras in the anchor
academy. If only I had a chance like this when I was just
starting!! What was great for me as a mentor was watching
how the campers improved at the anchor desk with every "broadcast".
It's a great feeling to help others succeed! Now all we need
for 2003, is to get the kitchen to stop clearing away the
lunches and dinners so quickly!
KGET TV News Director
The APTRA Academy was one of the most rewarding things I've
experienced in some time. The enthusiasm of the students and
the mentors left me with a real positive feeling about the
future of our business. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience
and hope that this type of training spreads throughout the
KSBY TV Photojournalist/Editor
San Luis Obispo, CA.
I don't think any other program could match what APTRA Academy
does for aspiring broadcasters. Even though it's billed as
a "simulation" I believe the Academy is as real
as it gets. The helicopter, the PIO's, the 'victims', the
suspect arrest, firefighters clearing brush and spraying water
was VERY cool! I found myself blinking my eyes and saying
to myself 'WOW, I can't believe this is happening" (and
trying to catch my breath)!
It's amazing that there are fellow professionals out there
so willing and dedicated to give people this kind of experience.
It was so inspiring to see the participants really take it
all in. I can't wait to see what Hal and APTRA are going to
cook up for next year!
KCOP TV Reporter/Anchor
I was impressed with how realistic the Academy was and how
much the students had to cover and process and deal with.
Everyone took it very seriously. The ability to go through
that unfolding scenario with working professionals, and then
to be able to walk away with a finished tape is so valuable!
I'm sure that as the Academy continues year after year more
and more news directors around the country will become familiar
with it, and that means students who have this on their resume
and have this tape will be taken very seriously.
KTTV TV Senior Producer
Within an hour of arriving for the APTRA 2002 Academy on
Saturday morning, two of my fellow mentors had already reminded
me "it's payback time." Certainly that was one reason
those of us of a certain age agreed to pitch in. Think back.
Many people spent many hours with us in the beginning and
this was one chance to pass our knowledge and experiences
onto a younger generation. We can only hope they will do the
same for those who follow. A second reason was the feedback,
what I knew I would be learning from the students.
The concept of both the reporting and anchor academies is
excellent. Hal Eisner, the academy's dean, and his team who
helped bring them off deserve tremendous credit.
It is just amazing how much can get accomplished in two days
and one night (a long night). The scenario development and
staging provided very realistic pictures and a minimum of
file tape was needed to make those packages sing. Graphics,
makeup, photography and editing all get very high marks. But
the top grades go to the students themselves. The four who
joined me and our superb photographer/editor Art Quezada from
KMEX were hard charging and enthusiastic about making our
end product as complete and polished as possible. They hustled
through the day covering the staged news event and doing live
shot, then logged, wrote and watched the editing process through
the night. Critiques the next day were sharp and on target.
I have to believe the weekend will have sucked some potentially
very talented people into our business, while perhaps bringing
home some hard realities to those who might not be so sure
that broadcast journalism should be their life work. Either
way, I am positive the participants got a lot of out of this.
But we as mentors did too. If you throw yourself into this,
you can't help driving away from Pepperdine's Cottontail Ranch
on Sunday afternoon feeling very good: about yourself, the
students you worked with, and the future of our business.