Fueled by their writing skills and a love for storytelling, recent graduates Daniela Torres ’21 and I’Yonna Applon-Kettles ’21 found their passion in journalism and are well on their way to success in the field.
This past May, the graduates landed fellowships with leading media companies — Torres with a four-month stint at Google and Applon-Kettles with a yearlong stint at the Financial Times. The fellowships are helping the fledgling journalists further develop their writing and reporting skills, gain hands-on experience and showcase their abilities.
Torres achieved a spot at the Google Journalism Fellowship, which aims to develop and support students of color who are interested in journalism careers, connecting them with relevant organizations across the world and providing valuable experience.
Through this fellowship, Torres is working at Vida Newspaper, a local bilingual publication in Oxnard that features community news focused on the Ventura County area. Torres is focusing primarily on the community side, developing stories in Spanish and English about important figures in the community, including small-business owners and educators.
This experience has given Torres a chance to learn the ins and outs of community news, where she hopes to focus her career, she said.
“I see myself starting my own blog to focus on communities I grew up in,” said Torres, who spent the majority of her childhood in Van Nuys. “I want to start my own thing, covering more good news.”
Both Matadors are grateful to the CSUN Department of Journalism for giving them a strong writing foundation, crediting professor Benjamin Davis in particular for providing strong support, mentorship and help during their undergraduate studies.
“Being at CSUN gave me a well-rounded picture — all the writing that I did throughout my four years at CSUN set me up beautifully for what I do now,” said Applon-Kettles, who landed the Money Media Fellowship with the Financial Times.
Through this one-year program, Applon-Kettles is rotating between the Financial Times publications, including IQ and Agenda, covering a wide array of subjects. In the process, she is learning how to communicate with CEOs and other people in leadership, while also gaining a better understanding of the financial world, Applon-Kettles said.
This fall, she is focusing primarily on covering big hires and personnel moves at major corporations, but Applon-Kettles noted that she is most looking forward to her media video rotation with the Financial Times — where she’ll be able to apply her producing skills and work toward her goal of becoming a producer.