Making News: Interview Series Marks No. 100

By Tammy Marashlian
Signal Staff Writer

Sunday, August 28, 2005

ewsmaker of the Week" celebrates its 100th show today, telecasting a cantankerous confrontation between two members of the College of the Canyons board.
    The half-hour program, appearing locally on SCVTV Channel 20 with a transcript in the Sunday Signal, has provided an opportunity for the people of Santa Clarita to take a deep look at those who are making important decisions, and understand who they are.
    The Q-and-A has featured influential people, from Olympic Medalist Mark Crear to Mayor Cameron Smyth to former California Education Secretary Richard Riordan.
    "We showcase all the different kinds of people who affect our lives in the Santa Clarita Valley, from our candidates for office to local nonprofit leaders and government officials in Sacramento," said Signal Multimedia Editor Leon Worden, who hosts the show. "We've talked to a lot of interesting SCV residents from non-political circles, too, like the NASA engineers who've been sending probes to Mars."
    Before "Newsmaker" was established, The Signal featured a section called "20 Questions" that grilled local movers and shakers, Worden said.
    Worden had been hosting local history shows on Channel 20 and said the idea developed "to merge the concepts of 20 Questions' and the half-hour television interview format into a new multimedia feature that would appear on television, in print and on the Internet," he said.
    Each week, Worden chooses one, or occasionally two, "newsmakers."
    "The half-hour program usually allows enough time to go deep with these people," he said. "We get background that you might not get from a short, breaking news story."
    Susan Shapiro, community programming manager for Comcast, said she is pleased with what the "Newsmaker" show has become.
    "We are happy to be able to use a 30-minute interview and provide a transcript that addresses the local news and subjects," she said.
    For the 100th "Newsmaker" show, appearing on page C1 of today's Signal, Worden interviewed College of the Canyons Board President Joan MacGregor and Trustee Ron Gillis.
    "They explained their positions on COC's recent property purchases and the board's rationale for censuring Gillis for his alleged violations of the Brown Act," Worden said.
    "Newsmaker of the Week" is produced jointly by the nonprofit SCV Press Club and Comcast and frequently uses as crew members students from film and television production classes under the direction of William S. Hart Union High School District ROP teacher Phil Scorza.
    "It's a great school-to-career-type partnership," Worden said. "We get some help, and the kids get some hands-on experience with the equipment to see if it's something they want to pursue as a career."
    "Newsmaker of the Week" airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 8:30 a.m. A printed transcript of each interview appears in Sunday's Signal. Channel 20 is available to Comcast and Time Warner Cable subscribers throughout the SCV; satellite viewers are out of luck.