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California State University Los Angeles

Cal State LA is a comprehensive urban university situated five miles from the center of downtown Los Angeles. The University is one of the most culturally diverse four-year institutions in the country. It is located at the intersection of the largest Latino and Asian communities in the nation, and close to the largest African American community in California. Of the University’s approximately 26,000 students, 59% are female. The student population is 73% Latino/a, 11% Asian American, 5% White, 4% African American, and 0.1% American Indian.

Housed in Cal State LA’s College of Arts & Letters, the Department of Television, Film, and Media (TVFM) currently offers both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Film and Television, a BA in Journalism, and an interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Television, Film and Theatre (TVFT). In the Fall 2023, these programs together serve over 700 students. TVFM is housed in the Cal State LA Television, Film, and Media Center, which includes instructional and studio spaces, a working sound stage, as well as sound recording and postproduction editing facilities.

The TVFM BA offers concentrations in production, post-production, screenwriting, and critical studies.

The Journalism BA and Journalism Minor offer foundational skills in news media literacy, news content creation and advanced multimedia production.

The TVFT MFA offers an interdisciplinary curriculum with options in content creation, writing, and acting. This MFA program is one of only five nationally that offers professionally geared training across all three TV, film, and theatre platforms.

The Robert Nelson Foundation awarded Cal State LA an $80,000 grant to support scholarships, internships, and travel awards for deserving students enrolled in the university’s media studies and journalism programs. The grant is intended to support Cal State LA in providing its students with a life-changing education, and help young people follow their dreams of pursuing a career in media and journalism.

The Robert Nelson Foundation Media Studies Scholarship and Awards Program will be administered to benefit re-entry, veteran, and/or single parent students who may be the first in their family to attend college, and/or other students with demonstrated need who are currently studying TV, Film and Media studies or Journalism at Cal State LA. Scholarships will be available to students majoring in media studies or journalism, and awards would be available to support 1) unpaid internships that help students explore professional media careers and 2) student travel expenses to media-related conferences and competitions.

The grant allocation will be:

$20,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Media Studies Scholarships

Scholarship support is critically important for Cal State LA students. Approximately 60% of their students are Pell-grant eligible, meaning they are from the lowest socioeconomic group and thus in greatest need of financial assistance. In addition, about 55% of students are the first-generation in their families to attain a college degree. The proposed scholarships are to be awarded to approximately 4 – 6 students in amounts ranging from $3,000 – $4,000 per student resulting in a meaningful financial award.

$40,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Internships for Journalism Students

Financial support is essential for journalism students to be able to undertake professional internships and thus create an important pipeline to newsroom employment. Cal State LA believes who provides the news matters. Many internships in journalism are unpaid, making paid internships very competitive. Too often, these valuable opportunities go to better-resourced students or those with previous, often unpaid internship experience. Because 75% of Cal State LA’s journalism students are from very low-income households, they cannot afford to take unpaid internships, no matter how valuable. The proposed allocation will allow approximately 8 additional students to experience an internship and share their experience with their peer students.

$20,000 for Robert Nelson Foundation Awards Program

In addition to scholarships and internships, awards for student travel to conferences and participate in competitions can be life-changing. Cal State LA students generally live in the area surrounding campus (i.e. greater East Los Angeles), and many have limited personal resources for travel opportunities. However, when students attend regional and national conferences, they showcase the skills they have learned with students from other institutions. The chance to compete in state or national competitions can truly be transformational. They also receive invaluable opportunities to learn from, work with and network with industry professionals. This funding will help send approximately 12 students to at least one upcoming out-of-state competition or training, or approximately 24-28 students to in-state events.