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.

Our Mission

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 (She/Her) 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.
Contact: vhammarstedt@berkeley.edu

Sarah Ffinch (She/Her) 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.
Contact: sffinch@berkeley.edu

Riah Gouvea (She/Her) is the Instructional Designer for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. Her varied background as a multimedia storyteller and content designer – producing videos, writing articles, building websites and designing content across channels – serves her well as she develops courses for an online environment. When not occupied in the digital world, you can find her exploring Berkeley’s outdoors.
Contact: rgouvea@berkeley.edu

Flynn May Pankaew (They/Them) is the customer success specialist for online courses. Flynn began working with Berkeley Advanced Media Institute in 2014. After a brief break with the university to move from California to Georgia in 2019, Flynn rejoined the team. Flynn has extensive knowledge of the Berkeley Advanced Media Institutes programs through education and experience, including internships at Hill|Holiday, KQED, WBUR, and working in improv, stage and screen acting, as a production assistant for short films, and learning digital media storytelling on the job; plus, co-producing a podcast with comedian and writer Gina Gold.
Contact: flynn.may@berkeley.edu


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.


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.

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.

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.


Evan Wagstaff is currently a San Francisco Chronicle|SF Gate digital producer, working across departments to build interactive projects and newsroom tools, and creating elegant news packages and streamlining workflows to help journalists tell great stories. He previously was at the LA Times supporting the relaunch of the new responsive site at latimes.com. An alumnus of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Evan has a background in traditional journalism with experience in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. He is the lead programming and coding instructor for Berkeley Advanced Media Institute.

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 an Emmy award winning 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.


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.

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.


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.


Angelia Baxter is a Certified Usability Analyst with 20+ years enterprise, startup, and agency experience as an effective user advocate and collaborator. She is the President/CEO of The Kreativ Studio, Inc – a design consultancy firm and Founder of In the Place – a professional networking platform for creators in Film & Tech. She has taught UX courses for General Assembly, Imparture, San Francisco State and her firm The Kreativ Studio, Inc.


Stephanie Croft is the Director of the Human Rights Investigations Lab at UC Berkeley School of Law. Croft is a geospatial analyst and open source investigator with a wide range of research experience related to West Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Prior to her appointment at Berkeley Law School, Croft worked as Senior Investigations Analyst for Greenpeace’s Global Tuna Campaign and was focused on investigating forced labor and human trafficking of workers at sea. She has also conducted open source investigations and analytical work for civil and criminal litigation in her native New Zealand. She is interested in feminist geography perspectives in environmental and human rights investigations and the implications of gender in the field of technology and human rights. She holds a BSc in Earth Science from the University of Amsterdam and is completing her MSc in Geographic Information Science at Amsterdam University.

Sam Dubberley is the manager of the Digital Verification Corps in the Crisis Response Team at Amnesty International and research consultant for the Human Rights and Big Data Project at the University of Essex. As a fellow of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, Sam co-authored a global study exploring the use of user-generated content in TV and online news output. He has published further research into the impact of UGC and vicarious trauma with Eyewitness Media Hub and First Draft News. He serves on the advisory boards of First Draft News and the Syrian Archive, and is the co-editor, with Daragh Murray and Alexa Koenig, of the forthcoming book Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability.

Lindsay Freeman is an international criminal and human rights lawyer based in The Hague, Netherlands. As a researcher for the Human Rights Center, she leads the drafting of the International Protocol on Open Source Investigations. Her research focuses on the use of technology and digital evidence war crimes investigations and prosecutions. She has provided training on digital evidence and online investigations to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and national prosecutors’ offices. She serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council for Technology and Human Rights, American Bar Association’s International Criminal Justice Expert Advisory Group, and International Criminal Court’s Technology Advisory Board. Previously, she worked for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and Google. She has an Adv. LL.M. in public international law from Leiden University, J.D. from University of San Francisco School of Law, and B.A. from Middlebury College.

Alexa Koenig, Ph.D., J.D, is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) and a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law with a particular focus on the impact of emerging technologies on human rights practice. She co-founded the Human Rights Investigations Lab. Alexa has been honored with several awards for her work, including the United Nations Association-SF’s Global Human Rights Award, Mark Bingham Award for Excellence, the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Teaching Excellence Award, and diverse grants, including support from the National Science Foundation and numerous private foundations. Her research and commentary have appeared in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, US News and World Report, and elsewhere.

Andrea Lampros is the Associate Director at the Human Rights Center, responsible for administration, fundraising, and communications, and the Resiliency Manager of the Human Rights Investigations Lab. She served for more than five years as the center’s Communications Director. In fall 2016, Andrea helped to launch the center’s Human Rights Investigations Lab, the first university-based effort of its kind. She continues to work closely with the lab students on resiliency to secondary trauma. Prior to joining the Human Rights Center, she worked on grassroots efforts related to U.S. policy in Central America and immigrant and refugee rights. She was a principal editor and chief proposal writer on the marketing and communications team at Berkeley’s University Relations, now University Development and Alumni Relations. She was the first development director for UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. An alumna of Berkeley’s J-School, she spent more than a decade working as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in the Contra Costa Times, East Bay Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, Diablo Magazine, Huffington Post, California Journal, and other publications. She contributed a chapter about the labor movement to The Real Las Vegas: Life Beyond the Strip (Oxford University Press) and is currently collaborating on a chapter about the use of DNA in El Salvador’s search for disappeared children, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.