Broadcast Legends Share Tips with SMC Journalism Students

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Wendy Tokuda & Frank Somerville gather together to share their experiences with SMC students. Photo by Gwen Over

By Gwen Over

Former KPIX anchor Wendy Tokuda and current KTVU news anchor Frank Somerville spoke to journalism students about life in the tv spotlight at SMC on Tuesday. Tokuda who is retired from her role on tv, was able to make use of the afternoon class time by providing her thoughts on current media and information about the nonprofit, Students Rising Above, that she helped form. Somerville contributed 30 minutes to the students before having to jet off to the news station in time for his 5 o’clock news report.

Somerville has spent much of his life as a news anchor claiming that, “an anchor is only as good as his or her experiences”. He often goes out of the way to expand his horizons. Seeing a public execution, flying with the blue angels and leading the 5, 6, 10 and 11 news hours, came after his hard work was put into the industry. Somerville is known for pushing the line between being a reporter and stating his opinion, but he is aware of that; “I push the line…if you can understand your own bias you can eliminate it from your reporting”. Somerville emphasized the importance of knowledge, working from the bottom, and reporting fair news in the brief time he had before leaving for work.

Tokuda picked up where Somerville left off, reminding the students that, “finding the truth is the main challenge” when reporting. Further noting that you must, “read like hell” if you want to be credible. Tokuda has spent ample time in the media but, is known for her charity work. Using her position to empower young students to become educated and share their stories is what she did for 17 years. Tokuda reported on underprivileged children with remarkable stories, that aimed to inspire. She “started her story small and then got larger”. By not taking no for an answer her short segments turned into SRA, a multimillion dollar non-profit. Tokuda’s career is continuing to expand daily and she has no clear plans to stop despite her current title of former KPIX anchor.

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