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Despite setbacks, Mira Costa’s TV news advisor wins national honor

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Michael Hernandez, Broadcast Journalism teacher at Mira Costa High, stands in front of the studio set his students use to tape the school's news broadcasts. Photo: Bruce Hazelton

Michael Hernandez, Broadcast Journalism teacher at Mira Costa High, stands in front of the studio set his students use to tape the school’s news broadcasts. Photo: Bruce Hazelton

During his 15 years as the adviser for the nationally recognized broadcast news program at Mira Costa High, Michael Hernandez has been dismissed twice due to budget cuts and his students repeatedly have faced the prospect of losing a home away from home.

“The entire program was almost shut down under past administrations, simply because those principals and superintendents had other priorities,” Hernandez said.

He and the students managed to pull through each time, with an outpouring of support from parents.

The Journalism Education Association recently named Hernandez as the 2014 National Broadcast Adviser of the Year, marking the first time this award has ever been recognized.

The JEA National High School Broadcast Adviser of the Year program, sponsored by Lindenwood University, is a platform to highlights the achievements of newsroom advisers. The award includes a $2,000 prize.

Fifteen years ago, Hernandez founded the Media Arts program at Mira Costa and has been working to strengthen the broadcast program. The Media Arts program encompasses the cinematic arts and broadcast journalism classes, with about 120 students each year.

“I think the skills students learn in my classes are valuable in any career and will help them succeed when they have to work with others, communicate ideas clearly and be media-savvy citizens,” Hernandez said.

In addition to his duties at Mira Costa, Hernandez speaks at regional and national journalism education forums to highlight the underappreciated field and encourage progress for change.

“Mustang Morning News” has won a number of national awards, including the National Scholastic Press Association’s Broadcast Pacemaker and the Academy of Scholastic Broadcasting’s Story of the Year. “Mustang Morning News” also swept awards at last year’s Fall National High School Journalism Convention (JEA/NSPA) in Boston, receiving superior marks in news, sports and features.

Student Katherine Chavers was recently accepted to a journalism program at Stanford University for the summer. Not only did she dive into the world of journalism with bright eyes, her love for this field grows each day. “Mustang Morning has provided me with countless opportunities,” Chavers said. “I’ve made great connections with new people and have been introduced into an incredibly advanced world of journalism … It’s truly incredible to think that a high school class is doing to much for my future.”

“There’s not a lot of esteem for journalism or electives in general,” Hernandez said. “This (is) says to everybody on a national scale as recognizing this subject and work with my students. It’s very gratifying.”



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