Berkeley Advanced Media Institute is the leading professional development program specializing in digital media training for content creators, journalists, editors, communication professionals, and educators. Berkeley Advanced Media Institute provides workshops and corporate training in multimedia storytelling, documentary filmmaking, social media, data visualization, video storytelling, photography, podcasting, design thinking, and other interactive media technologies. We are known for our collaborative, innovative approach to identifying new content and dynamic ways of learning, networking and ultimately providing trans-formative experiences to the organizations we work with.
Our clients have included distinguished industry leaders such as the BBC, National Geographic, New York Times, Consumer Reports, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the China Internet Information Center and the Norwegian Institute of Journalism. With over 20 years of experience in multimedia training to news organizations, public institutions, corporations, and media companies, we continue to expand upon our expertise and programming in the ever-emerging digital media landscape.
Berkeley Advanced Media Institute’s mission is to serve career professionals as they strive to increase their knowledge base in an ever changing digital world. Housed in the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, a non-profit, public education institution, we turn over 100% of any profit we make to support the teaching and learning of our journalism graduate students. What this means is that after our normal business expenses are deducted from our income we collect for our workshops and training events, we give what’s left over to the Graduate School of Journalism to help sustain truth in journalism, a free press and democracy.
Who We Are
Vicki Hammarstedt is the architect and director for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute, having launched the program in 2011. An entrepreneur with a passion for all things digital, Vicki has had an eclectic career as a technology teacher, the developer of a charter school, co-founder of an e-commerce company, and as the business director in the telecom industry. She currently designs and produces multimedia training programs bringing the latest technologies and innovations in digital storytelling to career professionals throughout the world. When not recruiting savvy, smart industry leaders and academics as partners to support the new media programming, she can be found bicycle touring or bee keeping.
Natalie Jones is the audio program manager for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. She is also a reporter working in radio and print, based in Oakland, California. She has reported for The Guardian, NPR, KQED, and KALW in San Francisco, Aspen Public Radio in Colorado, Grist, Civil Eats and The Point Reyes Light. She loves to record sound, write succinct prose, dig up information, get the facts right, and make data look digestible. When not doing those things, she consumes large amounts of media produced by others and spends a lot of time outside, sometimes simultaneously. Some favorite topics to cover are health, agriculture, food, and the environment.
Ben Manilla is the acting podcast service manager for Berkeley AMI as well as an audio producer, consultant, and educator. His numerous accolades include the Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Edwin H. Armstrong Award, NFCB Golden Reel Award, and the Grand Award from the International Radio Festival (three times.) Ben’s production company, BMP Audio, has been at the forefront of creative audio story-telling since 1991. Ben’s podcasts include The Science of Happiness, Masters of Scale and Voices in the Hall. Ben teaches radio and podcasting and heads the audio department at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Sarah Ffinch is the Operations Specialist for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. With a background in non-profit events management & logistics, adult education, and an unhealthy news addiction, Sarah feels right at home in the School of Journalism. She lives in Alameda with her husband and two young children.
Riah Gouvea is the Content Marketing Specialist for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. Her varied background as a multimedia storyteller – producing videos, writing articles, designing ads and building websites – serves her well as she promotes and refines the AMI brand. When not occupied in the digital world, you can find her exploring Berkeley’s outdoors.
Our instructors are luminaries from academia and industry. They are award-winning storytellers in all things digital with practical experiences in multimedia, documentary filmmaking, visual journalism, podcasting, social media, data visualization, design thinking, and digital publishing.
Kim Komenich is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, filmmaker, and university professor. He has photographed the ramifications of conflict in the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, the former Soviet Union and most recently in Iraq, where photos from his three trips to the Sunni Triangle in 2005 earned him the Military Reporters and Editors’ Association’s 2006 Photography Award for large circulation newspapers. He has received the 1987 Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the 1981 World Press Photo News Picture Story Award, and three National Headliner Awards.
Tawanda Kanhema is the lead product manager, discovery at Pocket. Previously, he was a product manager at AJ+ developing and consolidating product strategy across multiple digital platforms, ensuring that AJ+ remains competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. His most recent foray into bots and audience engagement highlights the expertise he brings to new media.
PODCASTING & AUDIO
Ben Manilla is one of America’s foremost award winning, audio producers. His 30-year career spans all aspects of creative sound production. He has invented series for National Public Radio, The Disney Company, The Library of Congress, CBS, PBS, and many others. He created a full-time satellite channel for Starbucks, invented a new music format for public radio in Milwaukee, and for 20 years has collaborated with Dan Aykroyd on the House of Blues radio series. Together, they wrote the book, “Elwood’s Blues”.
Francesca Fenzi is an audio producer, reporter and educator based in the Bay Area. Her work has been broadcast on NPR’s “All Things Considered” program, the Alaska Public Media network, and featured in several podcasts. She’s also written for The Guardian, Inc. and TIME magazines, and news outlets like Oakland North, Richmond Confidential and Anchorage Daily News. Francesca enjoys stories where science and social issues overlap, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. When not hunting for wild b-roll, she can be found climbing, biking or sea kayaking along the Pacific coast.
Jessica Placzek is a podcast reporter, producer and editor. At KQED Public Radio in San Francisco she produces and edits Bay Curious, a show that answers listener questions about the Bay Area. Through KALW, she is also working with the men incarcerated at Solano State Prison to produce a new StoryCorps style podcast, Uncuffed. Earlier this year she co-hosted and produced the third season of Raw Material for SFMOMA. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, All Things Considered, The California Report, and Vice. She’s also worked as a reporter for KPFA in Berkeley, KALW in San Francisco and The Nola Defender in New Orleans. Notable teaching experiences include designing lesson plans integrating arts and sciences while living in the Amazon jungle and teaching children English in a remote Nepali village.
Pat Mesiti-Miller is an Audio Producer, Sound Designer and Artist based in the Bay Area. Currently he is a Producer for Ear Hustle where he leads the Sound Design Team from inside San Quentin State Prison. He also works for Snap Judgment, Story Telling with a Beat where he has produced, scored, and engineered for 8 seasons of the show. He has worked with The New York Times, This American Life, 99 Percent Invisible and others. In addition to his work in Media, Pat is also a Music Producer and Mixing Engineer.
John Fecile works in both documentary film and radio. He was a field producer on Al Jazeera America’s documentary miniseries Hard Earned, which won the 2015 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. A film he edited, Rogers Park, premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and was a 2018 New York Times Critics Pick. On the audio side, he has been a reporter and producer for the shows Curious City and 99% Invisible. His hour-long audio documentary Blink Once for Yes aired on Love + Radio and won Bronze at the 2017 Third Coast International Audio Festival. He is a regular contributor to the show Snap Judgment on WNYC.
Laura Klivans is a community health reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. She hosts the KQED science web show Deep Look, and takes on additional roles at KQED as needed: morning anchor, general assignment reporter, and director of the news show The California Report Magazine. Laura is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Outside of the Bay Area, you can find her work on NPR, PRI, BBC, and the shows/podcasts Here & Now, The World, and Reply All. Before getting hooked on audio, Laura worked in education, leading groups of high school and college youth to places like Bangladesh, Peru and Guatemala. One of her favorite jobs was teaching on the Thai-Burmese border, where she worked with immigrants and refugees. Laura has a master’s in journalism from U.C. Berkeley, a master’s in education from Harvard, and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern.
Anna Sale is the creator and host of Death, Sex & Money, the podcast from WNYC Studios about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” After debuting at the top of the iTunes chart in 2014, Death, Sex & Money was named the #1 podcast of the year by New York Magazine in 2015 and in 2016, Anna won a Gracie for best podcast host.
Claire Mullen, associate sound designer and audio engineer for Reveal. Before joining Reveal, she was an assistant producer at Radio Ambulante and worked with KALW, KQED, and the Association of Independents in Radio.
Sam Harnett is a radio producer and reporter who contributes regularly to NPR, Marketplace, The World, The California Report, and KQED News. He is the co-creator of The World According to Sound, a 90 second radio show that features different sounds and the stories behind them and Driving With Strangers – a podcast of stories told to a taxi driver.
Megan Jones is a creative content strategist, digital multimedia producer and storytelling facilitator. Her work has aired on public radio stations across the country and on podcasts such as Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller and 51% on WAMC Northeast. Notable clients have included Genentech, Hachette Audio for Theft by Finding by David Sedaris, GE Energy and GE Digital, Ear Hustle for Radiotopia, The Stoop, The Specialist podcast, and Southern Company.
Hana Baba is a journalist with 20 years experience in the world of radio journalism. She is a reporter and host of “CrossCurrents”- a daily radio newsmagazine- broadcast on KALW Public Radio in San Francisco, CA. Her freelance work appears on NPR programs, PRI’s The World, BBC World Service, and New America Media. She recently launched her own podcast series The Stoop with cohost Leila Day.
Julie Caine is the executive producer audio at Al Jazeera Digital. She was previously the managing producer for Crosscurrents, KALW’s award-winning newsmagazine and lead producer of Audiograph, a KALW series that uses sound to tell the stories of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her radio documentary, Squeezebox Stories won an SPJ award for best arts and culture reporting.
Claire Schoen has been involved in media production for the past 30 years, working on a wide variety of documentary and educational projects. As a producer/director, she has created several documentary films and over 25 long-format radio documentaries, as well as numerous short works. As a sound designer she has recorded, edited and mixed sound for film, video, radio, webstory, museum tour and theater productions. Claire has taught media production at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.
DATA VISUALIZATION & WEB DESIGN
Peter Aldhous is a science journalist with BuzzFeed News and data visualization instructor for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. He also teaches data visualization at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, investigative reporting in the Science Communication Program at the UC Santa Cruz, and has developed online training materials in data visualization for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Peter got his start in journalism in 1989 as a reporter for Nature in London, fresh from a PhD in animal behavior. Later he worked as European correspondent for Science, news editor for New Scientist and chief news and features editor with Nature, before moving to California in 2005 to become New Scientist‘s San Francisco bureau chief. Peter works with free tools to ‘interview’ and visualize data – from scans of his own DNA to records of human conflict. His projects include web apps that have explored the local and global history of climate change, and the number of Earth-like planets in our galaxy. Peter’s articles have won awards from bodies including the Association of British Science Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and the Wistar Institute.
Octavio Raygoza is an award-winning content and web producer that engages viewers by creating quality websites and original content for news, sports, learning, and business publications. He has a strong background and education in video, photo, and web production. He has a master of journalism in New Media from UC Berkeley’s graduate school of journalism. He is currently employed as a content producer at Autodesk, one of the largest software companies in the world.
Amanda Hickman is Director of Product at Factful. She led BuzzFeed’s Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts from its founding in 2015 until the lab wrapped up in 2017. She has taught reporting, data analysis and visualization, and audience engagement at graduate journalism programs at UC Berkeley, Columbia University, and the City University of New York, and was DocumentCloud’s founding program director. Amanda has a long history of collaborating with both journalists, editors, and community organizers to design and create the tools they need to be more effective.
Jeremy Rue is lecturer of digital storytelling at the Graduate School of Journalism UC Berkeley and a multimedia instructor for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. He has taught workshops to hundreds of professional journalists on new media storytelling techniques. He has spoken at conferences for the Associated Press Managing Editors, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists, American Association of Sunday Feature Editors and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He has led several newsroom trainings on the transition to digital journalism, including National Public Radio, American Public Media and the University of California Office of the President. He was a technical editor for several textbooks on Adobe Flash, and Adobe Dreamweaver. Rue worked as a multimedia journalist for the Oakland Tribune; as a multimedia producer and photographer for a Carnegie-Knight funded reporting fellowship; as a photojournalist for The Fresno Bee, The Modesto Bee and the Duluth News-Tribune in Minnesota; and as a reporter for the Selma Enterprise. Rue is the recipient of the 2007 Dorothea Lange Fellowship for his photo documentary work on migrant farm workers in the California Central Valley.
Shaleece Haas is a filmmaker, multimedia journalist and video storytelling instructor for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. She is the director/producer of the forthcoming documentary Real Boy, a coming-of-age story about a transgender teenager with musical aspirations. Most recently, she co-produced The Genius of Marian, a film about the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s, the power of art and the meaning of family (POV, 2014). She has also served on the production teams of several short and feature-length documentaries for public television. Shaleece came to filmmaking through her work as a photojournalist. Her images have appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in magazines including Marie Claire, Utne Reader, and Ms. Magazine. While living in New York City, she also had the privilege of listening to hundreds of life stories through her work for the national oral history project, StoryCorps.
VIDEO & ANIMATION
Richard Koci Hernandez is a national Emmy award winning video and multimedia producer and worked as a photojournalist at the San Jose Mercury News for 15 years. His work has appeared in Time, Wired, The New York Times, a National Geographic book and international magazines. In 2008, Richard was awarded a national Emmy award for the New Approaches to Documentary category for his executive producer work on the Mercury News video entitled, Uprooted. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor for New Media at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
Tupac Saavedra is a director of photography, journalist and documentary filmmaker that splits his time between his native home, Bolivia and the United States. A 2007 alum of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, he is currently a senior producer at AJ+, where he creates viral content for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. His production company, Prana Eyes Media, has produced four documentaries for public broadcast, one of which, “On the Road with Evo,” won Best Documentary Award Emerging Filmmaker from the Pacific Pioneer Fund.
Emma Schwartz is a multimedia producer and filmmaker based in Oakland, California. She holds a masters from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and has over ten years of experience producing and shooting for magazines, television and independent documentaries. In recent years, she’s worked with PBS, The Washington Post, GQ Magazine, Bon Appétit Magazine, NBC Bay Area and SF Gate, among others. As a freelance international journalist, she has also lived and worked in Argentina, Dominican Republic, Israel and Palestine. She is currently an Associate Producer for the PBS series, “Not In Our Town,” a project that uses documentary film, new media, and organizing to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities.
Myra Paci is a writer/director/cinematographer whose work includes her award-winning debut feature Searching for Paradise, developed at the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting and Directing Labs, starring Chris Noth and Susan May Pratt and distributed by Showtime Entertainment, and her short thriller Girls Night Out starring Rosario Dawson, distributed by the Sundance Channel. For her writing and directing work, Paci has received fellowships from the Sundance Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony and Middlebury Script Lab, among other organizations. With her production company, SLAP Agency, Paci has created marketing videos for such clients as AAA, Kaiser Permanente, Intel, Lending Club, and Schwab. To see some of her work, visit theslapagency.com, myrapaci.com, and badmuthaz.com. Paci received a B.A. in History from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Film/Video Production from N.Y.U., and she teaches Screenwriting and Directing at San Francisco State University.
Mariana Santos, founder and co-director of Chicas Poderosas, is a trained animator and visual storyteller who while working at the Guardian, London, pioneered newsroom use of motion graphics to make data stories more compelling. Previously, she was the director of interactive and animation with Fusion, directed the Rio 2016 Olympics infographic and animation team, and was the Knight Chair of Innovation at FIU.
Maxim Jago is an Adobe Master Trainer, and the author of the official Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book. He’s an Avid Certified Instructor, and a Grass Valley EDIUS Master Trainer. He creates many of the official training tutorials for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer, and writes the official classroom book for Grass Valley EDIUS – he has created over 1,800 video tutorials describing post-production workflows. Maxim is also an award winning fiction filmmaker, and Chief Futurist at GameFace Labs, developing next-generation VR experiences. He presents regularly at international media events, has trained editors all around the world, and has taught everyone from schoolchildren to university professors, from ABC’s top editors in Australia to the BBC’s tech gurus in England. He seems to live mostly in the air but officially calls London, England home.
Richard Taylor is the BBC North American technology correspondent based in San Francisco Bay Area and creator of the BBC’s global technology brand, ‘Click’, broadcast in the UK and on TV in English and other language services. He is also a lead Berkeley Advanced Media Institute innovation and video instructor.
Chris Schodt currently works for Engadget.com in video production and writes and hosts Upscaled, a technology explainer show. He was nominated for an Emmy while a multimedia student journalist at the UC Berkeley graduate school of journalism. His work includes video, animation, and data visualization, and has had work published by the Verge, the BBC, and National Geographic. Chris has been teaching video and multimedia workshops for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute since 2014.
Jake Nicol is a national Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist and video producer based in Oakland, CA. He is currently a staff video journalist with The Wall Street Journal in San Francisco and previously worked as a freelance video producer for National Geographic. His work focuses primarily on national and international social issues, with an emphasis on public health, immigration, justice, and investigative reporting.
Madeleine Bair is an award-winning journalist and media developer. She has taught radio production to young adults, worked on a morning show at Chicago Public Radio, and produced multimedia for Human Rights Watch. As Senior Program Manager at the international human rights organization, WITNESS, she led a pioneering initiative dedicated to advancing the use of citizen video as a tool for human rights reporting and advocacy. Her stories have appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Orion, and Colorlines, and broadcast on public radio programs including PRI’s The World and Afropop Worldwide. Her documentary film on a first-generation high school graduate aired on PBS as part of its Latino Graduates series.
Charla Bear is a design lead, senior researcher, and award-winning journalist. She leads project teams at the human-centered innovation firm, IDEO. Before setting out to redesign the future, Charla was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford, one of 20 international journalists selected for the prestigious innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship program. Along the way, she’s shared her love of storytelling by teaching at the University of Washington, San Francisco State, and various mentoring programs.
Renata Duarte is a design thinking facilitator and instructor, a design researcher and brand strategist with broad experience across many industries. As a Design Researcher at IDEO, Rey blends an expertise on innovative research methods with branding and storytelling to inform design strategies, with a passion for understanding people’s actual feelings, thoughts and their implicit needs. She’s inspired by the intersection of consumer behavior, cultural context, and brand and finding ways to enhance it. Over the last 18 years, Rey’s taken on many roles—she has had the opportunity to experience, and fall in love with all sides of brand and business. She’s taken key roles in strategic planning, communication, branding, research and innovation projects at creative and full-service agencies, brand experience and consultancy shops and has worked with many of the most important brands in Brazil as well as multinationals based in the US and Europe.
Peter Bittner will be the “remote pilot in command” for the drone training program. He has a FAA Part 107 Certificate, which is the equivalent of a drone pilot’s license. His work has been published on the front page of The New York Times and in Al Jazeera, VICE News, and other major outlets. Peter is an alumnus of the New Media program at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and has taught as a visiting instructor at CELSA-Paris Sorbonne.
VIRTUAL REALITY & 360-VIDEO
Melissa Bosworth is a multimedia journalist based in Berkeley, California who began her career as a magazine writer covering renewable energy. She has shifted her focus to multimedia storytelling, from interactive news package production to virtual reality & 360 video.
Lakshmi Sarah has produced video and written pieces for newspapers, radio and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. She has produced video for Fusion, AJ+ and KQED Arts and has spearheaded VR/360 video for new media organizations.
Tim McGirk is a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and is a veteran investigative reporter, magazine writer and former Time magazine bureau chief; he has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the hunt for al-Qaeda. He is also a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalisms Investigative Reporting Center.
Indu Chandrasekhar is the director of audience engagement and oversees all of WIRED’s efforts to grow its audience and increase reader engagement, focusing on search engines, social platforms, newsletters, content recommendations, and analytics. She previously worked at MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, and the Telegraph in London.