Daily Archives: August 25, 2008

Jane Monreal: The eye in the sky

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
She provides the most important information for any Southland driver.
Everyday FilAm Jane Monreal provides millions of drivers their traffic updates. If there’s a big rig on fire on the 60 West Pomona freeways, Monreal is there. If there’s a traffic jam on the 10 West heading to Santa Monica, Monreal gives the up-to-the-minute update.

Since 2004 when Monreal started working for KABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning team, Monreal has seen countless of accidents and traffic jams as well as providing the much-needed information for commuters.

Monreal began her reporting career in 1994 delivering weekend, overnight traffic reports and eventually became the lead afternoon traffic reporter for all-news radio station KFWB, according to the KABC website.

Her work on the afternoon news team earned her a Golden Mike award, an annual award given by the Radio and Television News Association.

She has also served as an airborne traffic reporter at KFWB, covered the North Hollywood attempted bank heist shootout in 1997, and the brush fires in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. She also served as a broadcaster on 94.7 the Wave for five years.

A University of Miami graduate, Monreal was a former Miss Asian-America Florida. She served as captain of the university’s dance team and is still active in dance.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Kristine Johnson: Beauty, Brains, and Beyond

by Nickee de Leon/AJPress
If you google Kristine Johnson on the web, you’ll come across a number of adoring fan sites. There’s Rateitall.com, a forum site where ogling men pine for the stunning half-white, half-Filipina beauty whenever they see her on TV. Cameroncole.com has a wide collection of screen captures of Kristine, while Chickipedia.com describes her as adorable but breaks through her adorability with her professionalism. “The adorability sinks back in by the end of the broadcast, but by that time, they’re talking about things like street fairs and adopting kittens, so it’s fine,” the site further quips.

Kristine is definitely more than just a pretty face. She is the co-anchor of Chris Wragge for the 5pm and 11pm News broadcasts of WCBS-TV in New York City. Before joining WCBS-TV, Kristine was the anchor for NBC News Early Today, an alternate anchor for Weekend Today and daytime anchor for MSNBC. Major newsmakers and breaking news events, such as the killing of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and the London Terror Bombings were part of Kristine’s daily fare as a journalist.

Kristine also worked as a weeknight anchor and field reporter for WPRI/WNAC-TV in Providence, RI and was responsible for field anchoring from live breaking news events in the Providence market. She is a recipient of two Emmy nominations for her contribution in the production of Brendan’s Story and Newsmakers.

Kristine was born to a Filipina mother and an American father in Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga in the Philippines. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and minors in political science, history and English. She now resides in New Jersey with her husband, Steve and their two children,  Ava, 6 and Burke,1.


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Elita Loresca: Sunny Skies for America’s Sexiest Weather Anchor

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
Television newscasters belong to the crème de la crème; a select elite of men and women possessing an extraordinary combination of beauty and brains. They must look good at all times; even if their stressful days start in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night. Not only must newscasters have a pleasant voice, good timing, excellent pronunciation, and correct English usage; they’re also expected to be well-informed about a variety of things as they are expected to “ad-lib” during the show.
Considering all these, Filipinos are mighty proud that several of their kababayans are among the select elite of beautiful and intelligent newscasters admired in American TV today.

One beautiful newscaster that stands out in American TV today is Elita Loresca. Viewers of KNBC know Elita as the pretty weather anchor in Today in LA and the Midday Report. Her past coverage of hurricanes Frances, Katrina, Rita and Wilma when she was with WSVN (FOX) in Miami, Florida have made her quite famous with American viewers.

But since October 2006, Elita is not just known as a weather anchor. She is also known as “America’s Sexiest Newscaster”, a title conferred upon her by readers of FHM Magazine, which featured her in its October 2006 issue.

Born in the Philippines, Elita Loresca moved to Southern California when she was 10 months old and grew up in both downtown Los Angeles and Chino. She took up Broadcast Journalism at Cal State Fullerton and earned the Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University.

“That is where my interest and passion for the news industry started. It wasn’t until my internship at the Orange County News Channel that I wanted to pursue a career on-air as a weather anchor. I was working with my mentor, Maria Quiban (currently an anchor and meteorologist at KCOP, Ch. 13) at the time and she inspired me to follow my dreams. I know it sounds so cliche’, but it was because of her encouragement that I wanted to get into the business and knew that I could do it. I wanted to be just like her!” she said.

Loresca began her career as a news associate at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she was responsible for the assembly of scripts and teleprompter operation during the newscasts. Then, she worked as the noon weather anchor and assignment editor for Bakersfield, California from January 2001 to August 2002. She then moved to KGPE-TV in Fresno, California, as the morning and noon weather anchor. From 2004 to 2006, she was with WSVN (FOX) in Miami, Florida until she joined  KNBC.

In an earlier interview with Asian Journal regarding her being voted “America’s Sexiest Newscaster, Loresca admitted being wowed upon learning about the news.  ““I was elated! It’s a national magazine! I was flattered by the nomination alone, but to actually win the poll, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “When I found out in June that I won, I made sure that my parents knew exactly what type of magazine this was and the demographics this catered to. I didn’t want them to be caught off guard.”

Elita’s Filipino parents were happy for their daughter. She related, “My parents are awesome! They are super supportive of the pictorial and couldn’t be prouder. My dad is so proud. He loves to brag about all his daughters and our accomplishments. He has called all of his friends from the US to the Philippines, so that they go out and buy a copy. My parents are the best!”

Her friends, including her boyfriend have been quite supportive as well. “Overall, I have gotten nothing but support from my friends and my boyfriend. I  am very blessed,” she said.

In order to further hone her skills, Loresca pursued further studies in her field. She wanted to  be a meteorologist so she took up a 3-year distance course on broadcast meteorology.

The news muse admitted that she’s not fluent in Tagalog, having moved to the US when she was just a baby.  “My tagalog is not bad. But, I can understand Tagalog much better than I can speak it,” she said. But the sexy and smart weather anchor proudly stated that she can cook Filipino food.  “I can make lumpia, chicken adobo, fried tilapia and a few of my other favorites. I try not to cook the fried stuff too often,though, ” she added.

To keep her body in shape, Elita goes for kickboxing and cycling. And to keep her spirit strong, Loresca reaches out to help the underprivileged, being actively involved as a volunteer for for Humanity and The National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth (NANAY), a non-profit Filipino organization.


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Denise Dador: A Healthy Career

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
She’s been described as the health specialist with no medical training. But Eyewitness News Health Specialist Denise Dador has been helping Americans live healthier lives since she joined ABC-7 Eyewitness News in July 1998. Her Healthy Living features has been airing regularly on the 4pm and 5pm editions of Eyewitness News, as well as other newscasts for many years.

Along with her health reporting duties, Denise has also covered major breaking news stories. These include the February 2001 Seattle Earthquake and an exclusive interview with the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding terrorist activities in the Philippines.

Denise grew up in San Francisco and attended Lowell High School. She graduated from Mills College where she majored in Communications with a minor in Comparative Government. Dador started her broadcasting career while at Mills College in the Bay Area, when she hosted Manila Manila, a FilAm TV talk show.

After graduating, Denise took a position at Fox’s KMPH-TV in Fresno, California. Initially a general assignment reporter, Denise was appointed South Valley bureau chief, and then was promoted to main anchor of the station’s weeknight 10 o’clock news.

In 1993, Denise joined the ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan as their health reporter. She was quickly promoted to the station’s weekend anchor. Public interest in her daily reports resulted in a weekly news program on healthy living.

“I was the only Asian American person in Detroit for the longest time,” she recalled. “For years, I was the only one. I think when I left they hired another one.”

Denise has received numerous journalism and community service awards. She is a recipient of the Emmy for outstanding news feature reporting, best news feature from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the “Outstanding Health Reporting” award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She has also received the Profiles in Progress award from the American Cancer Society for her series on breast cancer. The Filipino American Library, SIPA and various other notable Filipino American groups have granted her numerous honors for her commitment to community involvement. She has also been honored by the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and the Sjogren’s Foundation.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Cher Calvin: On the Hot Seat

by Rene Villaroman/AJPress
Three years ago, Broadcast Journalist Cher Calvin burst into the Los Angeles Network news scene when she joined the award-winning KTLA Morning News. She assumed the co-anchor position that was left vacant by erstwhile morning co-anchor Sharon Tey who moved to New York City.
Born and educated in the US, Cher took up broadcast journalism in New York University and began her career at the news desk of TIME Magazine while completing her internship at Cable News Network (CNN) in New York. She was eventually offered a part-time job at CNN, and continued working at TIME and CNN simultaneously until she moved to Manila to have her taste of Philippine broadcast journalism.

After her stint in Manila, Cher came back to the US and became anchor for Las Vegas’ KVVU Fox 5. Cher immerses herself in Fil-Am community events and is often involved either as a guest, an award recipient or a Master of Ceremonies.

Two years ago, she received the honor of being awarded as “Broadcast Journalist of the Year” by Reflections. A few months after she joined KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, this writer interviewed Cher for AWE Magazine. Following are excerpts from the interview:

RV: How would you compare your anchor’s job here in LA to that in Las Vegas?

CC: I must admit that the chance I was given to work at KVVU, FOX 5 Las Vegas was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Even though the grueling work schedule of waking up in the middle of the night was not easy to become accustomed to: doing four-hour live newscast, solo, for the first six months I was there, was what I like to call “anchor boot camp.” And because of the opportunity at FOX 5, I fee very fortunate that I am now a part of KTLA News. And who wouldn’t be! The station is renowned for many “firsts” in the industry in the West Coast.

RV: How easy (or hard) was your transition from KVVU FOX 5 to KTLA ?

CC: Luckily my transition to KTLA from FOX 5 was a smooth one. And that’s only because everyone here at KTLA really is so genuinely nice. They were all so welcoming. KTLA is a family and they treat their staff with decency, respect and honor.

RV: I read stories purporting that you had a tough start in KVVU?

Well, it was tough at first at KVVU. But mostly I was culture-shocked after being in the Philippines for five years. Yes, I am an American but I became so accustomed to ABS-CBN and the lifestyle there, that when I got to Vegas I felt like I was starting all over again. So it was rough at first. But toward the end of it all, I did enjoy my time at FOX 5 and the people as well.

RV: How long did you stay in KVVU and what was your overall impression of that job?

CC: I was in Las Vegas at FOX 5 News for two years. (2003-2005). Overall, I am thankful for all I learned in Las Vegas. It wasn’t easy to get used to waking up in the middle of the night and doing a 4-hour show….but eventually I got the hang of it. Most of all, what helped me through the first few months was the e-mails from the Filipino community that had followed my shows back home. They were always encouraging. That alone made me strive to make them proud.

RV: How is your typical day like?

CC: My day begins when most people are in their deepest sleep. I have four alarms going off…one at 2:30 and the other at 2:45 and two at 3 a.m. It sounds like a fire truck is coming through my place at 3 a.m. But it’s the only way that i can get out of bed. I start my coffee, jump in the shower, get dressed and literally zoom out of the garage to work. At work, I always check in to the news desk; I’m given the day’s morning paper and then I go over my scripts before heading to make-up. By 4:45 a.m. I am ready to go to the set. On the set, with my second cup of coffee ready, I go over my scripts one more time and then it’s show time! I’m on the air from 5 to 7 am. This is by far the best part of my day. Working with Emmett Miller and Mark Kriski is beyond what I expected. They’re always watching out for me and I am constantly energized by them. I couldn’t ask for a better team. After the show, we have a morning meeting and then I go to my office, research stories that I want to work on and maybe that day I’ll have a story to shoot so I’ll go out on the field. If not, I’ll be done at about 12 noon. The rest of the day…is pretty much a toss-up between a nap, errands, lunch with friends and a drive to the beach, a movie and home by 6 so I can catch up on the news and be prepared for the newscast the next day. I’m in bed by 8 pm and then at 2:30 am the fire trucks start rolling again.

RV: Tell us about your experience working with TIME and CNN in New York.

CC: TIME Magazine is where I got my start in journalism. I worked [at] the news desk. I was only 20 when I started there part-time. And I just couldn’t believe that I got a job there! I was still in college and I had a friend who worked full time at TIME. There was an opening and he suggested I come in for an interview. So I did. It was the greatest place for me to start my career. I monitored news, breaking news mostly and alert the reporters…especially on the weekends when I worked; if there was a break in their story or breaking news that they had to report. My first big breaking news story for TIME was the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. It was a Saturday and no one was in the office except me. That was my main job. Monitor the news. Then Rabin was shot. I began the alert process…calling all the reporters in Israel, the editors in New York. The cover of the magazine had to be changed to Rabin. And trust me, it was a busy night that lasted until Sunday night. CNN New York was a whole different ball game. I started there as an intern, getting the papers for the anchors/reporters, logging tapes, serving the reporters while they do their stories on the field. Get scripts for the anchors and bring them on the set. Then after my internship I was offered a part-time job at CNN. I worked at CNN New York and TIME simultaneously until I went to Manila.

RV: You had a stint in Manila as a broadcast journalist. How would you compare it to your current job in Los Angeles in terms of the way the news is written and delivered?

CC: Manila was the best time of my life. I went from anchoring a one-minute news update on GMA News Live to doing a morning show. Then I went to ABS-CBN and hosted “F” for four years and Points of View. At one point I realized that I had to get back to anchoring the news and started with ANC and News Central. It was a fast track in broadcasting and I owe a lot to GMA and especially to ABS for believing in me and giving me the chance to have all the exposure and experience they both gave me. Asking me to compare the difference between Los Angeles and news and news back home is like comparing apples and oranges. The reason why I say that is because the concerns of the communities are different. Since I’ve been in Los Angeles, the community concerns here are nothing to be overlooked. There have been the worst landslides since the 1970s, a new mayor who is the first Latino mayor in over 130 years, and there is also so much importance put on what’s happening in your neighborhood to our newscast in the morning. Mainly, the news has the same objective: whether you are in the Philippines, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles — anywhere in the world — people want to be informed.

RV: Did you always dream of becoming a TV journalist? Was that what you had in mind when you went to NYU?

CC: I wanted to be a doctor like my mother. But my strongest subjects in school were always English and History. But trying to pursue my dream of becoming an MD, I went to NYU Pre-Med. I just couldn’t get into it. I decided I would take Political Science and on a whim, I also took a broadcast journalism class. I fell in love with broadcast journalism and really set my mind to it. The program at NYU was incredible. We would go out on the field and shoot stories and even had a TV newscast class [where] we would be assigned stories and duties to either direct, produce, write, report or anchor. We would go live every week at the end of the class and broadcast a newscast to a local cable channel at the university. The 9-hour class [went] by like a breeze. I just wanted to be a journalist so badly…and then came the opportunity to work with TIME Magazine while I was in my junior year at NYU. Everything just fell into place.

RV: Who is the greatest influence in your life?

CC: My father. Without his guidance and support I would not be the woman I am today. I am thankful for his presence in my life everyday. He is my best friend and knows me better than anyone in the world. I am lucky that we are so close and that I can count on him for sound advice and a shoulder to cry on whenever I need him. He is so wise and I know that following his advice is the reason I am where I am today.

RV: What would be your message to the FilAm community in Los Angeles?

I am so thankful and grateful for the support that I am receiving from the Fil-Am community. We are so strong here in Los Angeles and I know that my kababayans are supporting me. This is what we Filipinos do. Bagamat ako’y isinilang, lumaki at natapos ng pag-aaral sa America ang puso at damdamin ko ay makaPilipino. Maraming Salamat Po sa inyong pagtangkilik at umasa po kayong hindi kayo mabibigo. (www.asianjournal.com)

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