Rio Hondo College Club Spotlight: Journalism, Communications, & Public Relations

Written by Armand Santos, Senior Staff Writer

JCPR is a lot of work, but we do it because we have a passion and a love for it

— JCPR Secretary Stephanie Lopez

There’s a new a new club on the hill, and its name is exactly what the club is all about; Journalism, Communications and Public Relations (JCPR).

Anyone with an interest in broadcast journalism and public relations, whether it be in front of the camera or behind the scenes, will likely find a home at JCPR.

JCPR is very different from the journalism club that existed at Rio Hondo College five years ago. The all-new JCPR has a unique twist, it releases a bi-weekly video news program that its active members produce. The video newscast can be viewed on the website of Rio Hondo’s newspaper, El Paisano, by entering in your browser’s search bar.

The newscast is called JCPR News and the topics it covers range from Los Angeles area and local community news to Rio Hondo specific topics. Student members of the club produce each broadcast.

Duties in front of the camera include news anchors, weather, sports, entertainment and field reporters. All of the on-camera roles require the students to write their own content except for the anchors, who must become accustomed to reading scripts written by others.

Behind-the-scenes roles consist of camera operators, script writers, public relations, editors, and producers.

The first broadcast date for the program was Oct. 16 and the episode was co-anchored by Jazmine Gonzalez and JCPR Secretary Stephanie Lopez.

“JCPR is a lot of work, but we do it because we have a passion and a love for it,” said Lopez, who is currently in her sophomore year at Rio Hondo College and targets transferring to either the University of California or to California State University next fall semester.

The inaugural broadcast placed a spotlight on a Rio Hondo Community workshop dealing with the development of the newest Regional Park on the site of the former Puente Hills Landfill and also reported on the recent AIDS Walk in Los Angeles.

In between the larger stories are smaller segments dealing with weather, sports, entertainment and opinion.

JCPR is advised by a team of four individuals, a larger number than that of most campus clubs, but understandable when one considers the depth and breadth of the production requirements of a bi-weekly newscast. Professors John Francis and Wendy Carrera fill the roles of faculty advisor and assistant to the faculty advisor, respectively, while James Tapparo is the acting Technical Advisor. Jonathan Monzon works as Public Relations coordinator.

Aside from a fun and supportive atmosphere where students have the chance to meet people with similar interests and goals, the students involved in JCPR get a very well-rounded and practical experience from their club membership.

“All of the club members take turns at all of the roles. Everyone has a chance to be an anchor, writer, editor, everything,” explained Monzon, who brings a real world sensibility to his role as the public relations coordinator. In addition to being a Rio Hondo College student, Monzon currently plies his trade as a unit publicist for NBC Universal. “They really get a hands-on experience.”

The level of experience gained from the production of the first episode was evident in the release of the second. Sound issues were minimized and the editing staff made considerably better use of the green-screen environment that the anchors are filmed in. The first episode had the green-screen visible behind the anchors while the second had an entire background inserted. The second episode also made use of an introduction graphic to build viewer excitement. It is worth tuning in if only to see how much each show improves upon the last.

JCPR welcomes new members to the club. The next Matt Lauer (or Ron Burgundy) is just waiting to be discovered. The club meets weekly on Thursdays at 11am in the Learning Resource Center at Rio Hondo College, room 105.