Three California State University, Northridge alums have hit the ground running in their journalism careers, earning positions at the “Big Three” rival news networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) in New York, including work on some of the most popular shows on TV — The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America and the Today show.
CSUN alumni Kelcey Henderson, Cammeron Parrish and Lauren Turner Dunn fostered friendships at CSUN and are keeping the connection going across the country despite the competitive nature of their careers.
Henderson ’18 (Journalism) currently works for NBC as a news associate, Parrish ’18 (Journalism) for ABC as a digital news associate and Turner Dunn ’18 (Journalism) for CBS as a production assistant.
Turner Dunn currently works for CBS as a production assistant primarily for the second season of Whistleblower, an investigative news program hosted on the network’s digital platform CBS All Access.
“This is just the beginning,” she said.
Her other roles in the network include research and finding media sources for the CBS Weekend News broadcast, and she has also assisted with audience services on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Parrish works as a digital news associate for ABC, a multi-function role on the news desk facilitating communication between reporters and producers, and searching for national headline stories as they break, including gathering content for Good Morning America.
Working on a news desk for a major network isn’t new to Parrish. As a desk intern for KABC in Los Angeles, he developed the skills he uses now and discovered the interest in fact-checking and following up on stories — the majority of what his current position entitles.
“That experience got me to where I am here in New York,” Parrish said. “The one difference is that now I’m working for the national network. It’s broader, it’s bigger, and you really have to compare working in a local market. My job now is to fish out for those stories that make the national cut.”
Henderson’s role as a news associate at NBC as part of the NBCUniversal Page program – a skill and experience-based rotational program with the company that allows her to experience four different areas within the network, with her current role being working on Today.
“There are so many aspects and avenues to journalism, so I really love how this program allows you to rotate and puts you where it seems fit for you and where you see for yourself,” she said.
At the end of the one-year program, Henderson has the ability to apply for any open position within the four areas she has worked in.
Despite their hectic schedules, adjusting to life on the East Coast and jump-starting their careers, the three make an effort to find time for each other.
“Our schedules are crazy, but we can find time to do things with each other and it makes it better,” said Henderson.
The three often meet up and check out the city or grab a bite, and Henderson and Parrish will meet up for church service every week.
During their time within CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, the three students were heavily involved in campus organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the Black Student Union (BSU).
Henderson and Parrish both worked for The Sundial. Parrish was a podcast content creator and later a podcast producer, while Henderson produced digital content for a segment she created called CSUN: Do You Know? — a show where Henderson would ask students around campus about various news topics to gauge opinions. The segment is still being produced by current students.
Henderson and Turner Dunn were both recipients of the Mary Bayramian Arts Scholarship, an $8,000 award through The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts.
“If it weren’t for CSUN, I wouldn’t have had the connections and opportunities I have now,” said Henderson. “I’m just thankful for all the opportunities that CSUN has provided me from the beginning, and how that has all shaped the way to where I am now.”
During their senior year at CSUN, Henderson and Parrish met up in New York with Turner Dunn for a friend trip, unaware that a year later they would all be offered jobs in the city.
“I never thought I would end up here in New York. The trip with Kelcey and Cammeron was my second time here. We never knew we were going to live in New York. It’s crazy,” Turner Dunn said.
After applying to a variety of positions, never intending to work in the same city, it was Henderson who started the domino effect.
“Kelcey got her job, I had my interview and before getting on the plane Cammeron called us and told us that he got his job,” Turner Dunn said. “Immediately I told myself OK, I really have to get this job now.”
With optimism about the future ahead, these Matadors reflect on the past and offer advice to current students looking to start their own careers.
“Really try to figure out what it is you want to do because that will help you when you go further out the way. Explore all your options and don’t be so closed minded about things,” said Parrish. “You never know if you might like something until you try it. Be open to change. If you don’t like it, you’ll know that it doesn’t work for you.”
“Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and get out of those normal things for you to find those opportunities out there,” said Henderson. “There’s always so much that we can learn-being on campus, and there’s so much more that the real world can teach us.”
The three emphasized the importance of making invaluable connections, getting involved as much as you can and enjoying the college experience.
“I honestly wouldn’t be in New York without CSUN,” said Turner Dunn. “It goes to show that the work that you put in really makes a difference. Take every opportunity, trust your gut, follow your dreams.”