Journalism department gears up for new internship coordinator


Courtesy photo

Laura Castaneda will begin her new position as the journalism department internship coordinator this semester.

by Kaitlyn Little

This semester, Laura Castañeda will be joining the San Diego State School of Journalism and Media Studies as its new internship coordinator, where she said she is looking forward to providing students with some much-needed guidance.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Castañeda said she immediately got a job when she graduated at the Chicago ABC station, WLS. However, she said upon entering the job, she didn’t know what she was doingandI. For this reason, she said she keeps this experience in mind when teaching because she doesn’t want students to be in the same situation.  

“I don’t want students to go through what I did,” Castañeda said, “I want them to be prepared. I want them to know the vocabulary, I want them to know when somebody mentions something, I don’t want them to get wide-eyed, I want them to know exactly and seamlessly what somebody is asking them to do.”

After gaining a significant amount of experience in the field, she became a reporter in Tucson, Arizona, for a few years before moving to San Diego to work for KGTV Channel 10, an ABC affiliate. Her career then left on an unexpected path when she decided to teach at San Diego City College,  spending 17 years as a professor and eventually as department chair. During this time, she freelanced and produced her own show for KBPS called “Stories de la Frontera,” which won two Emmy awards.

With many years of experience under her wings, Castañeda said she is hopeful she will be able to enlighten students in her new position.

“I love to mentor,” Castañeda said. “I love to teach students something that I know they don’t know.”

Despite being new to campus, she said she already has plans to make some changes to the internship program in upcoming semesters after she gets a better feel for the campus.

”For now, as I’m walking in the doors, trying to wrap my head around everything that’s involved and doing the internship, we’re not going to be making very many changes for spring semester,” Castañeda said. “But, going forward, I definitely have some great ideas I want to propose to them to try to make it easier and better for everybody that’s involved.”

She said many students from her past have grown to do big things, such as Telemundo 20 TV host Guadalupe Venegas and broadcaster and meteorologist Crystal Egger. Castañeda said she constantly pushes her students to work their hardest and strive in their department, something she thinks is central to her new position.

“(Professors are) like coaches,” Castañeda said. “We push people, we encourage people, we mentor people and then, really, the rest is up to them. I have a lot of tenacity and any student who has had me before will tell you that I don’t give up easily. So when I see somebody that has what it takes to be successful in journalism, marketing, public relations and advertising, I’m gonna push them, and that’s what I’ve done in the past.”

She said one of her goals in this position is clearing any student confusion about internships. That way, even if students do not qualify for the journalism and media studies internship class or they have not taken the pre-requisites, they can come to an orientation to learn about the internship process on Jan. 23 from 11 a.m. to noon in PSFA 309 or on Jan. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. in PSFA 309. Otherwise, she can be contacted at