What began as a dream has evolved into a reality for media, communications and journalism (MCJ) students Edmer Archila and Brittany Sosa – they’re finalists in the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Golden Microphone Awards competition.
The Fresno State Focus participants were selected to have their segment hosted on KFSR in October 2016.
“Faith Sidlow, our adviser, let us know about it, and I originally did not have interest in entering,” Archila said. “But what changed was Faith [Sidlow] kind of told me, ‘You got to do this, you got to do this.’ and I did. I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be selected as a finalist.”
Archila’s co-anchor, Sosa, also had no expectations of becoming a finalist.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, but after a couple months or so I started getting emails from people saying congratulations, congratulations,” Sosa said. “I didn’t really know how big it was. I’m pretty excited about it.”
Archila and Sosa are not the only ones excited by the honor. Fellow MCJ student Kelsie Berry voiced her support for her peers.
“I feel that sometimes Fresno State isn’t recognized for some of the outstanding opportunities, professors and events that we have available.” Berry said. “With [having] the students names in such a renowned event, it will shed such [a] positive light on this campus and the program.”
Seeing students having success will inspire other MCJ students in their academic journey, Berry said.
The broadcast, nominated for Best Public Affairs Program, steps away from the recent politics-filled media found on a daily basis. The show reaches out to tell the stories of people of the San Joaquin Valley.
Additionally, Archila has been chosen as a finalist for Best Community News for his coverage of the food insecurities faced by farmers.
For Archila, community-based reporting is beneficial in strengthening community bonds.
“I used to think: ‘You do your story; people might see it, but they might discuss it for a while then they’ll put it away.’ But it seems like people have an interest in what is being said,” Archila said.
It helped him grow, Archila said, and understand that people want to know what is going on in the community.
“That first show that we did, it wasn’t easy,“ said Archila. “It was our first time on the mics. We were getting ready to figure out how the show was going to come together. When we were recording that show, things kind of just fell into place. I think that chemistry between Brittany and I worked in that sense,” he said.
Archila and Sosa showed a passion for news media well before entering college.
After meeting with a news anchor filming a segment in the area [connecting] to his backyard at the age of 8, Archila took advantage of every journalism opportunity available in Mendota, including producing for the student newspaper at his high school.
Sosa’s involvement as the anchor for the video production academy at Sunnyside High School stirred her love for broadcasting.
“I realized real quick that hard news wasn’t for me,” Sosa said. “I’m that type of person that’s always happy, so me reporting sad stuff to people is just kind of like, ‘I don’t know if I could do that.’”
She started becoming interested in audio production and started moving toward radio, Sosa said.
As for when it comes to sticking in the business of journalism and multimedia, both students stressed the importance of hard work, adaptation and reception.
“I feel like anybody that is a ‘people person’ can make it in radio if you have the drive,” Sosa said. “I’ve learned real quick they’re going to put you in situations that you don’t like, but if you really want to become someone or become something, you’re going to have to deal with it.”
Sosa said she has immersed herself in radio culture.
“There’s been situations where I’ve been like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do that,’ but I do it anyway, with a smile on my face every time,” she added.
Archila said adapting is the name of the game.
“If that means having to go outside your comfort zone and doing something totally different, you have to be able to do that,” Archila said. “Because otherwise you don’t get to stay in the business.”
The Fresno State Focus broadcast will go up against radio programs submitted by Cal State San Bernardino, Concordia University in Texas, University of Missouri, University of Virginia and University of West Georgia. The award ceremony is March 4 in New York City.