A CAREER PATH REDO LEADS A SAC GRADUATE TO AN EMMY AWARD
Santa Ana College alumnus Rudy Garcia recently came to talk with some Broadcast Journalism and Film Production students in the Digital Media program. He also showed off some bling, in the form of his local Emmy Award for his news coverage of the police crack down on Black Lives Matter protesters on the Las Vegas Strip. Students got to hold the statuette and snaps some pictures. Rudy has a successful career in broadcast news as a top-notch video journalist. However, this is a far cry from the career path Rudy started down.
After graduating from University California, Irvine with a Civil Engineering degree, you could say Rudy Garcia was enjoying a successful career as a traffic engineer. But if you ask Rudy, he might take exception to the “enjoying" part. He decided it was time to change lanes. In 2012 Rudy found his new pathway at Santa Ana College in the Broadcast Journalism program.
“I needed a place where I could learn and practice the industry-grade skills," said Garcia. “SAC had both the equipment and instruction for me to be able to do that, plus it was a fraction of the cost of a university. I could also earn some certificates at SAC which I could use as formal education on my resume."
“I met Rudy during my first semester teaching the news class at Santa Ana College in 2015," said Digital Media Department co-chair Michael Taylor. “I remember being pretty impressed with this broadcast journalism student who was scheduling classes around his full-time traffic engineering job."
Taylor says Rudy made every minute in the classroom count while going the extra mile on assignments to build his resume reel, even grabbing footage of a house fire.
“He directed productions, he anchored, reported, he shot and edited stories. He even had a police and fire scanner with him so he could cover breaking news in the area."
A fire was burning in Rudy. He had a passion for broadcast journalism and was determined to make a new career at it. As luck would have it, he earned his Television Production and Broadcast Journalism certificate at the same time a broadcast journalism conference was meeting in SoCal. Rudy jumped at the chance to network with working news professionals and show potential employers his production reel and resume. It didn't take long for him to get noticed. By the end of the conference, he had a number of newsrooms lining up with job offers. Rudy credits his success with hard work and his decision to come to the Digital Media Department at Santa Ana College.
He took a job offer from KGET-TV, an NBC affiliate station in Bakersfield, California. Rudy has been working his way up the career ladder as a skilled video journalist. After a few short years, he moved on to a larger market, KTNV-TV (ABC) in Las Vegas. It was in Vegas where he won his first Emmy. He says the Emmy confirmed he made the right decision.
“This was validating," says Rudy. "It was proof to me and my family that I could succeed in a career like this."
Today, he's back in California working in one of the largest TV markets in the country, KRON-TV Channel 4, the San Francisco Bay Area's local news station. One of his highlights include a time when the station flew him out to Boston to cover game six of the 2022 NBA finals between the Celtics vs Warriors. He was at TD Garden in Boston and got step onto the court after Golden State won the championship. When he came back to California, his first assignment was covering the Warriors' victory parade. The old traffic engineer in him may have questioned how in the world they fit all those people onto the city streets. The video journalist in him knew he'd found his perfect fit in life.