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Multimedia chair headed to Los Angeles to work in television

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“I would like to thank the Academy …” said Beth Fitzgerald, before trailing off laughing, unable to keep a straight face.

Fitzgerald, chair of the Multimedia Department at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus, will travel to Los Angeles in November as a guest of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – but she’s not going to win an Emmy. Fitzgerald is one of 20 educators chosen from around the nation to attend the academy’s 2009 Faculty Seminars – and the only one selected from a community college.

The seminars will offer Fitzgerald a privileged glimpse into the world of television production. She and her fellow instructors will visit several studios, and observe the way in which producers, writers and technicians interact to create a television show. She’s most interested in how digital elements – like those her students learn to create – are incorporated into the production process.

“The seminars are designed for faculty people,” Fitzgerald said. “The idea is to bring back examples of real-life production scenarios to integrate into our curriculum.”

The seminar will address a range of industry topics, including:

  • Producers and Writers: How they function in the industry.
  • Development: Sources and development of ideas, network pitching.
  • Network and Cable Decision-Making: Program selection, scheduling, promotion, and cancellation.
  • Digital Entertainment and New Media: Cutting-edge equipment and techniques
  • Studio Visits: Behind the scenes.
  • Production Meetings: Industry professionals in action.

Hopefully, Fitzgerald said, her experience at the seminars will translate into a better understanding of the industry for her students.

“It’s a mystery how TV works,” she said. “This is a huge opportunity to bring real-world expertise back to PCC.”

But beyond the benefits the seminars can bring to her program and students, Fitzgerald has an ulterior motive behind her visit to Los Angeles.

“I want to make sure the Young and the Restless stays on the air,” she said, laughing.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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