2023 Emerging Journalists Regional Career Summits


See location directions | View participants' bios

08:00 AM Registration/Breakfast Forum
08:30 AM Welcome Remarks
Leslie-Anne Frank, Dir. of Next Gen. Initiatives, NAHJ
Yvette Cabrera, President, NAHJ
Melisa Cabello-Cuahutle, President, NAHJ USC
Gordon Stables, Director, School of Journalism, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Lizette Carbajal, VP of Community Relations, Telemundo 52
08:45 AM NBCU Academy presents:
From Classroom to Newsroom: Navigating a Career in Journalism
Moderator: Gadi Schwartz, Correspondent, NBC News
Panelists: Mekahlo Medina, Anchor/Reporter, KNBC News
Norma Ribiero, Reporter, Telemundo 52
Genesis Samayoa-Hidalgo, News Producer, Telemundo 52


10:00 AM The Right Place for You – Powered by TEGNA
Moderator: Monika Diaz, Director of Content, TEGNA
Panelists: Noah Cooper, Senior Content Recruiter, TEGNA 
Chelsea Hernandez, Morning Show Producer, KING 5
Katie Kim, Race and Culture Content Producer, KXTV
  Telling Stories with Sound
Presenter: Rodrigo Cervantes, Senior Editor, LAist
11:15 AM Writing Techniques
Presenter: Steve Padilla, Column One Editor, Los Angeles Times
  The Entertainment Beat
Moderator: Dunia Elvir, Anchor, Telemundo 52
Panelists: Tomás Mier, Reporter, Rolling Stone 
Andrea Gutierrez, Producer, NPR
12:30 PM Lunch/Panel
Exploring Best Practices: Journalism & Faith in Today's Media Reality
DMC Presenter: Angela Redding, Executive Director, Radiant Foundation
Moderator: Steve Padilla, Column One Editor, Los Angeles Times
Alejandra Molina, National Reporter, Religion News Services
Doug Wilks, Executive Editor, Deseret News



01:45 PM Preparing for Internship/Job Interviews
Moderator: Jorge Flores, Content Specialist, UnidosUS
Panelists: Noah Cooper, Senior Content Recruiter, TEGNA
Martha Lopez, Talent Acquisition, NBC News, MSNBC
Rudy Rivas, Managing Editor, 3TV/CBS 5
Shasta Gomez, Director of Talent Strategies & Recruitment, Spectrum Networks
02:30 PM Career Fair
Companies: NBC, Gray TV, TEGNA, USC
04:30 PM Closing Forum


Here's the link to public transportation directions.
  • FREE PARKING for the first 25 cars with more than one attendee!

    Enter through the McClintock Entrance. You must use the Downey Way Parking Structure, and remember to mention NAHJ. Here is the link to the interactive map. You can refer to this map for the parking entrance.

  • If you are driving alone, or for any cars arriving after the first 25, parking in the USC lot is $20.


Yvette Cabrera

Yvette is a senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity covering inequality in economic and social well-being. Most recently she worked as an environmental justice reporter for Grist & HuffPost, and as an investigative reporter for ThinkProgress in Washington D.C. She reports at the intersection of justice and equity, examining the impact of systemic disparities, such as environmental pollution and contamination, on marginalized communities throughout the country. She has reported extensively on the pervasiveness of toxic lead contamination across the country, including an investigation on the legacy of industrial lead pollution in urban residential neighborhoods as a 2019 McGraw Center for Business Journalism fellow, and a five-part investigative series where she showed through soil testing how lead exposure is still harming children in complex ways. In 2022, she was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center practitioner to create a journalist’s guide for reporting on soil lead contamination. She currently serves as president for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and for two decades served as a board member of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, the oldest regional organization of journalists of color in the country.

Gordon Stables is the director of the School of Journalism. He has served in that role since 2017.

Originally a classical trained communication scholar, with an emphasis on argumentation, rhetoric and debate. Gordon has been a member of the USC faculty since 2002 and has served in a wide range of roles, including Directing the University’s Trojan Debate Squad, serving as an Associate Dean for Student Affairs and directing the school’s International Media Studies program. 

As the School of Journalism Director, he is responsible for overseeing the faculty, staff and students of both journalism and public relations programs. Those responsibilities include the leadership and management of more than 170 faculty, 1000 students, six degree programs and our student newsroom. During his tenure as Director, the School of Journalism has engaged in significant revision of each of these programs to ensure each of the curriculum is best positioned to serve our students.

Lizette Carbajal

Lizette Carbajal is the Vice President of Community Relations at Telemundo 52 Los Angeles, Telemundo’s West Coast flagship television station, serving the Spanish-speaking community in Southern California. Lizette spearheads the station’s community engagement initiatives to foster awareness about issues of importance to viewers and continue Telemundo 52’s commitment to inform, empower and enrich the lives of the Hispanic communities it serves.

Lizette, a Southern California native, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Community College District Foundation, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Adventist Health White Memorial Charitable Foundation and is a member of the Dean’s Circle for Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.

Rodrigo Cervantes

Rodrigo Cervantes is a journalist with almost two decades of experience in the United States and Mexico. He is a former NAHJ Secretary and currently works as Senior Editor for LAist 89.3 FM and LAist.com, NPR's top station in Southern California.

Before joining KPCC, Rodrigo opened and ran the Mexico City bureau for Arizona's KJZZ, being the first-ever overseas bureau of a local public radio station. He was recently one of the curators of the project "Today in Latino History" created by Google, the U.S.-Mexico Foundation and Arizona State University.

Prior to that, Rodrigo worked as the Editor-In-Chief of the Business section of El Norte -the most important newspaper in Monterrey, Mexico- and as Editorial Coordinator in the distinguished Mexican newspaper Reforma, where he also worked as an editor and reporter in various sections. In Georgia, he held the position of Editor-In-Chief in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's MundoHispánico, one of the oldest and largest Latino newspapers in the southeastern United States.

Rodrigo has been honored with several awards, including the Tec de Monterrey Distinguished Alumni Medal, several José Martí Awards for Journalistic Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP), as well as regional Murrow awards from the Radio Television and Digital News Association (RTDNA).

Noah Cooper

Noah Cooper is a Senior Content Recruiter specializing in hiring producer candidates for TEGNA’s 49 newsrooms. Prior to his corporate role, he served as Executive News Director for more than 14 years at KREM/KSKN in Spokane, WA. Noah graduated from the University of Notre Dame in Communications.  After graduation he earned his Masters in Communications from Washington State University before starting his producing career at KREM in 1995. Noah really can’t swim, but still enjoys finishing near the back of the pack in Ironman triathlons when he’s not spending time with his wife and three children.

Monika Diaz

Monika Diaz is a Director of Content, supporting TEGNA’s newsrooms with content initiatives, inclusive journalism programs and recruiting/mentoring.

She joined the company in March of 2021 after serving as the News Director at KTXL FOX40 in Sacramento, California. Prior to that, she was the assistant news director and managing editor.  Before making the transition to management, Monika was an award-winning reporter for nearly 17 years working for WFAA in Dallas, ABC10 in Sacramento and KSTS Telemundo in San Jose.

Monika who is from Miami, Florida graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Communications. She is a lifetime NAHJ member and a Director At-Large for RTDNA.

Dunia Elvir

Dunia Elvir is the News Anchor for Telemundo 52’s Noticiero Telemundo 52 a las 5PM, 6PM y 11PM. She is an Award-winning journalist with more than two decades of a successful career in journalism. She began her journalistic career in 1990 at Telemundo 52 Los Angeles, she joined Telemundo Network in 2002 and returned to KVEA in 2008 where she served as a News Reporter and Anchor.  

Her storytelling has earned her prestigious awards, including two Golden Mikes from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California, 10 Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, and a GLAAD Media Award, among others. In 2004, she was named one of the 13 most outstanding Latinas in the United States by the National Association of Latina Leaders (NALL).

For her commitment to the Hispanic community, Elvir has been recognized by the United States Congress and Senate and awarded the “Honduran Pride Abroad” award by CCIT the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa in her native Honduras.

Elvir has contributed to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History initiative “Escuchame: The History of Spanish-language Broadcasting in the U.S.” this exhibition  has Elvir’s pair of painted tennis shoes illustrating personal and career highlights.

Elvir is the NAHJ-LA chapter President and the Spanish At Large officer of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ),  she’s also a member of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS PSW), Radio and Television News Association (RTNA) and the Los Angeles Press Club.

Elvir earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Elvir also completed a journalism fellowship with the University of Southern California (USC).

Chelsea Hernandez

Chelsea Vanessa Hernandez currently works for King 5 News in Seattle as a morning producer. She is originally from Denver, Colorado and have been working for TEGNA for the past two and a half years. She started off her career after graduating from the University of Denver in 2019 with degrees in Journalism and Criminology. Her first job was at the local PBS station as a line producer for a political news show. She later transitioned into working for a small national network based off in Denver. In 2020, she was hired as a Producer-In-Residence for King 5 News. After a year in the program, she was promoted to a morning show producer.

Katie Kim

Katie Kim is a Race and Culture Content Producer at ABC10 in Sacramento, California. In her role, she devotes her time to finding and telling stories that reflect diverse communities across Northern California. Her love for storytelling grew out of writing short stories as a child, but her passion for journalism developed at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. As an Asian American journalist, Katie is thrilled to be able to serve communities that have been historically overlooked or underrepresented in news.

Gadi Schwartz

Gadi Schwartz is a co-host of Stay Tuned, NBC News’ daily news show on Snapchat’s Discover platform. Schwartz is also the host of the Peacock streaming series, The Overview, and is an NBC News correspondent. It was recently announced that beginning in March, Gadi will anchor a primetime newscast at 8pm ET on NBC News NOW.

As a correspondent for NBC News based in Los Angeles, Schwartz has covered immigration issues along the US-Mexico border, disinformation, numerous election cycles, hurricanes and natural disasters across the U.S., climate change and sustainability around the world. He frequently reports for TODAY, NBC Nightly News, NBC News NOW and MSNBC.

Schwartz also contributed reporting on issues facing the Hispanic community in America to the "NBC News x Noticias Telemundo Reports" series in both English and Spanish, as well as across all NBC News platforms.

Before joining NBC News, Gadi worked for KNBC, an NBC owned-and-operated television station located in Los Angeles. He joined KNBC after spending nearly a decade at KOB-TV, the NBC affiliate in Albuquerque, NM, where he was a weekend co-anchor and managing investigator for the “4 On Your Side” Investigative Unit. 

Over the course of his career, Schwartz has received multiple industry awards, including five regional Emmy Awards and two Los Angeles Golden Mikes.

Gadi was born in Guatemala City and moved with his family to New Mexico as a child. He is fluent in Spanish and holds a degree in Arts and Science from New Mexico State University.

Mekahlo Medina

Mekahlo Medina anchors the NBC4 weekend morning news Today in LA, airing from 7 to 8 a.m., and also reports weekdays on NBC4 Today in LA and the NBC News at 11 a.m.

Medina joined NBC4 in 2006 and is one of the station’s most prolific social networkers. He’s also highly engaged with viewers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He uses his news stories across multiple social media platforms in both the digital sphere and on television. He is also known for leveraging the ‘second screen’ experience by encouraging the station’s viewers to engage on social media.

Medina joined NBC4 as an anchor and manager of “News Raw,” a news show that aired on the station’s digital channel, which focused on hyper local news coverage, culture, technology and social media. Coincidentally, Facebook and Twitter were taking off around the same time and Medina used these social media outlets to offer content that he reported on NBC4.

Prior to joining NBC4, Medina was a general assignment reporter for KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, KPNX-TV in Phoenix, and NBC television affiliates, KOB-TV in Albuquerque, and KTSM in El Paso.

Medina is the Interim Executive Director of CCNMA, Latino Journalists of California.  He is a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association and the Native American Journalists Association.  Medina served as president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and also served as secretary of UNITY Journalists for Diversity.  He a prolific painter and enjoys writing poetry about the Latino experience.

Medina graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and speaks Spanish fluently.

Tomás Mier

Tomás Mier is a staff writer at Rolling Stone focused on pop and Latin music. A proud first-generation student, Tomás earned his undergraduate degree in Journalism and Latinx Studies at USC, where he was also the editor-in-chief of the Daily Trojan. Before his work at Rolling Stone, Tomás was a writer at People Magazine, where he interviewed artists and celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Becky G, Lindsey Buckingham, among others. He also worked for the Los Angeles Times where he wrote a front-page story investigating the racist past of some of USC’s namesakes. During his time at USC, Tomás held internships at the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Telemundo 52, ABC7. He is also the former student representation of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Alejandra Molina

Alejandra Molina is a national reporter covering Latinos and religion for Religion News Service, a nonprofit newsroom that covers all faith traditions across the country. She is based in Los Angeles. Previously, she was a reporter for the Southern California News Group where she wrote about cities, immigration, race and religion for newspapers like The Orange County Register, The Press-Enterprise in Riverside and The Los Angeles Daily News. Her work has appeared in the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

Steve Padilla

Steve Padilla is editor of Column One, the Los Angeles Times' showcase for storytelling. In 35 years at The Times, Padilla has edited a wide variety of subjects, including presidential elections, international news, higher education and religion. Before the Times, he was a reporter with the San Diego Union and founding editor of Hispanic Link Weekly Report. He also serves as a writing coach.

Norma Ribeiro

Norma Ribeiro is a News Reporter for Noticiero Telemundo 52. Telemundo 52 is Telemundo’s West Coast Flagship television station, delivering nearly 30 hours of local news and programming each week, more than any other Spanish-language station in Southern California, including breaking news coverage, up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, and entertainment.
Ribeiro has nearly two decades of journalism experience spanning diverse news platforms, both in the United States and in Latin America.

Prior to joining Telemundo 52 as a news reporter in 2017, Ribeiro worked for Univision as a writer and reporter for national programs such as Primer Impacto, Noticiero Univision, and for local stations like Univision 23 WLTV in South Florida and Univision 34 Los Angeles.

Before settling in the United States, Ribeiro served as a reporter for Venevision, a television network in her native Venezuela, and collaborated with CNN En Español and CNN International.

Ribeiro earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication and Audiovisual mention from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela.

Rudy Rivas

Rudy Rivas is currently Managing Editor at Arizona’s Family (3TV/CBS 5) in Phoenix, Arizona. Rudy has spent his entire career in the Phoenix market, where he started as a Web Producer at ABC15 Arizona and grew his skills into leading digital and assignment desk efforts at the station.

Rudy spent six years at ABC15 before moving to Arizona’s Family where he grew the digital team to #1 in the market as Digital Managing Editor. Three years later, Rudy now works on the TV side as Managing Editor and works with reporters closely on breaking news and enterprise stories. 

Rudy grew up in San Diego and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Genesis Samayoa-Hidalgo

Genesis Samayoa-Hidalgo is a four-time Emmy award winning news producer for NBC Telemundo 52 in Los Angeles. She started her career in Denver, Colorado but her passion for journalism led her to pursue an opportunity in one of television’s top markets. Genesis is a visionary, and her ingenuity and comprehension of the fast-developing news environment has led her to receive numerous recognitions within the industry. She graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder, earning a B.S. in Journalism and a B.A. in Spanish. GO BUFFS! Aside from enjoying her time in the newsroom, Genesis dedicates most of her time to family and church.

Shasta Gomez

Shasta Gomez is the Director of Talent Strategy and Recruitment at Spectrum Networks, bringing 19 years of Human Resources and Talent Recruitment to this crucial role. As the Director of Talent Strategy and Recruitment, Shasta and her team of talented recruitment specialists support over 30 local news and regional sports networks around the country. Key aspects of her role include spearheading recruitment initiatives that acquire best-in-class talent, delivering tactical and strategic recruitment solutions, and working in collaboration with executive leadership to sustain an innovative, collaborative culture focused on local storytelling. Leading up to her position as Director, Shasta served as Talent Acquisition Program Manager for Spectrum Networks. In this role, she developed and implemented key talent pre-assessment platforms and campus recruitment strategies, created and executed programs to attract, develop, and retain a high potential talent population, and introduced an innovative internal mobility framework – a proven record and list of accomplishments that make her invaluable to Spectrum Networks.

Angela Nielsen Redding

Angela is a strategic leader with extensive experience building businesses, strategies, and partnerships for corporations, philanthropy, media, and higher education. She currently serves as Executive Director for Radiant Foundation.
Prior to her work at Radiant Foundation, Angela led innovation and partnerships for a technology subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Previously, she built and led a media innovation business trade association, a neuroanalytics practice, and consulted on multi-million and billion-dollar investments in media companies.

Her professional experience includes a decade of nonprofit management and management consulting with some of the largest and most impactful corporations, nonprofits, and startups.

Doug Wilks

Doug Wilks is the executive editor of the Deseret News. His four-decade news career as reporter and editor included stints with Gannett in Marin County, California, and the New York Times Regional Media Group as an editor before joining the Deseret News in 2012. He resides in Salt Lake City with his wife, Christiana.

Martha Lopez 

Martha Lopez has spent her entire career recruiting in the entertainment industry.  Throughout the past 20 years, she’s had the opportunity to gain valuable experience recruiting for media roles, and sourcing talent from, and for, diverse communities with Disney, Paramount Media Networks, Live Nation and NBCUniversal.  Throughout her time with these companies she has supported recruitment efforts across Film, TV, Streaming and News domestically and in Latin America.

Currently managing a team of recruiters that staff up shows for NBC News & MNSBC, she’s also been a key player in shaping the DEI strategy for her business.  She is proud to be able to partner with associations such as NAHJ!
Andrea Gutierrez

Andrea Gutierrez is an award-winning journalist making podcasts at NPR, where she’s produced and reported for TED Radio Hour, It’s Been a Minute, and Planet Money. She's drawn to stories at the intersections of identity in arts and culture. Andrea’s work has won awards and honors from the Podcast Academy (Ambies), LA Press Club, NAHJ, and NLGJA, and she was an IWMF Gwen Ifill Fellow, RIAS Berlin Commission Fellow, and AIR New Voices Scholar. In a previous life, she advised and mentored students at public universities throughout California.
Jorge Flores works as the Bilingual Content Specialist at UnidosUS (previously known as the National Council of La Raza) producing and overseeing the content of the programs and actions taken by the organization nationwide. Previously to UnidosUS, Jorge interned and worked for Telemundo San Diego. He is a former NAHJ Student Rep where he developed the Student Committee and joined forces to bring various opportunities to emerging journalists. Today, Jorge continues his education as a graduate student of Harvard Extension School specializing in Digital Storytelling and Inclusivity Practices. Jorge also serves as the Spanish-At-Large Officer at NAHJ LA.


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Leslie-Anne Frank, Director of Next Gen Initiatives. We hope to see you soon! 

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