an interview with DIANN BURNS

SATURDAY, June 8, 2024
11 am - 1 pm

Enjoy a candid and relaxed conversation with nine-time Emmy winner, Diann Burns. The legendary news anchor will share profound insights into her history career via a lively virtual discussion with Chicago Today host, Cortney Hall on June 8, 2024 from 11a-1p.

Reporter/Anchor, WLS-TV. Mark Rivera came back to work in his hometown when he joined the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team as weekend morning news anchor and reporter in December 2017.


Jamie Ceaser’s career began at legendary WTTW, one of the nation’s leading public television stations, where she created award-winning documentaries.

Cornelius MACK

Cornelius Mack is the Creative/Marketing Director for CBS Chicago WBBM.

saturday, April 6, 2024
11 am - 1 pm

Set Etiquette: everything you need to know
about being a production assistant



PA, Dark Matter

Stuart Blue is a filmmaker currently based in Chicago working as a production assistant on television and movie sets in the city. He graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May of 2022 with a BFA in Film. Stuart enjoyed creating short films and videos long before a formal education via YouTube. In 2021 Stuart released Divine Imperfection, winning him the best comedy short at the Nevada Shorts Film Festival. In 2022 Stuart released The Execution of a Painting. Stuart is excited to finish post-production of his newest film, Discolight Vigil, a dark comedy centering around a friend group.

Office PA, Chicago PD

Noah Sallen is a production assistant based in Chicago. Originally from Bloomington, IL he studied at DePaul University where he graduated with honors. After TV and Film took him around the Midwest, he is back in the city to plant his roots. This past year, he's worked full-time on 'Chicago P.D.' and 'Holland, MI' an upcoming Amazon Studios film. On various projects, he assists in set coordination and logistics. He likes being in a position that lets him interact with all departments. In the future, he plans to apply his problem-solving skills as a creative producer. When he's not working, you can find him volunteering with conservation groups, kayaking, or improving his cooking skills.

Alli Saurez
Assistant Director, DGA

Born and raised in Miami, Alli received her B.S. in Psychology at Florida State University. After working for three years as a high school math teacher, she moved to Chicago to pursue her passion of working in the film industry. Alli is now a member of the Directors Guild of America and has worked on numerous projects, including FX’s The Bear, NBC’s Chicago Med, Disney Channel’s Saturdays, AppleTV’s Dark Matter, and Emperor of Ocean Park. Through her professional experiences, she has gained knowledge on the process of filmmaking as well as a strong network of peers in the film industry.


Director of News and Local Content for Weigel Broadcasting in Chicago. Read Full Bio


Based at WGN-TV in Chicago, Chip Brewster currently works on Nexstar Media's national digital team as a video producer and livestream host/OBS expert. Read Full Bio


Jessie Garcia is News Director of CBS 58 and Telemundo WI in Milwaukee. An award-winning journalist, Jessie spent 25 years on the air as a sports anchor and reporter before transitioning to management. Read Full Bio


Elizabeth Godvik is a newswriter/producer at WBBM-TV in Chicago. She also works with future journalists as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University. Read Full Bio

Elyssa Kaufman

Elyssa Kaufman is a Digital News Producer at CBS Chicago. She covers breaking news for CBSChicago.com while working closely with the morning show producers. Read Full Bio


Andrew Rowan is a multimedia journalist at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. He is passionate about creativity and innovation in TV news storytelling. Read Full Bio


Frank Whittaker retired at the end of 2022 as Station Manager and Vice President of News for NBC 5 Chicago after working more than 46 years in three Chicago TV newsrooms. For nearly 25 years he led the NBC Chicago newsroom, becoming the longest serving news director in Chicago television history. Read Full Bio

Columbia College Chicago
1104 S. Wabash, Room 301
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Confidence issues? Ever walked away from a work situation wishing you “should have” or “would have,” only if you “could have?” If you answered yes, then attend NATAS Chicago/Midwest’s interactive Confidence Building Workshop! Join Alefiyah Master who has a proven track record built over decades, on how to communicate to close, negotiate both professionally and personally, and how to talk with people from all walks of life. Alefiyah will work directly with workshop attendees.
Alefiyah Master

Alefiyah Master is the Executive Producer for BAM Studios, where she manages a group of highly experienced audio and assistant audio engineers. She works with high-profile talent daily as well as clients such as Disney, Dreamworks, Pixar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Wolf's Chicago Franchise, along with a significant number of large Chicago agencies and independent creatives, making relationship management an integral part of her position. As EP, she manages all incoming projects, starting with the budget and guaranteeing effective file delivery to the client. Alefiyah speaks four languages and her passion is world travel. Her greatest love is her puppy, Bailey. Alefiyah is a former member of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter’s Board of Governors and has held many roles within the TV Academy, including Executive Officer.

Held on Feb 11, 2023 - Watch this virtual interview and discussion with a former tv news producer who wrote her own Hollywood plot twist. Emmy® Award winner Sylvia L. Jones shares details about her decision to switch careers at age 44 and her journey from the newsroom to the writer’s room on projects like Starz's Power Book IV: Force , Showtime's The Chi, and Ava DuVernay's Cherish the Day on OWN, plus, how she developed and penned the award winning television biopic, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel . Sylvia also shares her greatest lessons learned along the way and answer questions from aspiring screenwriters. The discussion is moderated by Afua Owusu, Director of News & Local Content for Weigel Broadcasting.
Held on January 14, 2023.  Broadcast internships are the keys that unlock doors to the industry. Gaining a coveted slot in the newsroom is equal parts talent, networking, passion, and luck. 

During this panel discussion you will learn how to use this opportunity to network with great people and sharpen your skills BEFORE entering the workforce. Our panel includes  industry insiders from WGN-TV, WBBM-TV, WLS-TV, and Plum Media.  
Explore the world of video editing in this hands-on post-production virtual workshop held on Feb. 25, 2023. During this workshop, learn some of the skills necessary to become a professional video editor and experience editing a short commercial project. 
Lauren Yaccino
Lauren is a video editor and visual effects artist from Chicago. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from DePaul University's College of Computing and Digital Media with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film and television editing in 2021. After graduation, she began her editing career with a national television broadcasting company in Chicago. In September 2021, she launched Post By Lauren Inc., her own freelance video editing company. In 2022, Lauren transitioned into visual effects for national commercials.

This panel discussion is for high school students who are interested in pursuing their passions in media. Attend this virtual event and learn more about the types of college and university programs there are for journalism, broadcast news, film, documentary, and television.


Discovering what media major is right for you can be a difficult decision when there are so many facets to what makes up our digital world. Learning from industry professionals, we will be discussing the diverse paths that the panelists have taken and what higher education programs have to offer to help you find the right fit!  Faculty from Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern, and the Second City Film School will be panelists.  

NATAS Junior Board Members
Brian Andrews

Brian Andrews is a storyteller and visual technologist. Currently he serves as the chair of Post-Production at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts.

marie halliday

Marie was a Vice President of Development at Adaptive Studios and a Director of Production & Development at MarVista Entertainment and is now a professor at Columbia College Chicago.

arionne Nettles

Arionne Nettles is a lecturer/director of audio journalism at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Caroline posse Emiliani

Carolina Posse Emiliani is an award-winning producer and educator. She worked as Programming Director and Interim Director of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. She is an Assoc. Professor at Columbia College.


Lyn advises, mentors, prepares and supports Second City Film School students and DePaul Screenwriting MFAs. Lyn has over 16 years of experience in professional development and has worked in the improv community for several decades.

Ayesha Abouelazm

Ayesha is a filmmaker, instructor, and poet. She has written and directed many short films. This includes: The Girl in the Blue Bra (2016) and Not On My Shoulders (2017). She is currently an instructor at Loyola University Chicago.


NATAS Junior Board Executive Committee Chair

Ella Lubienski
2nd Assistant Camera

The Chi, South Side, Work in Progress, Fargo

Watch this virtual panel discussion with local professionals from various background in episodic TV production. The panelists provide insight into their day to day and how they got started. They also offer advice for those pursuing similar careers and how to break into the industry as a whole.
Mono Wilborn
Locations Manager

Chicago Fire, Chi-Raq, Jupiter Ascending, Sense 8, Barbershop

Tony Lullo

Chicago Fire, Prison Break, Chi-Raq, Stranger Than Fiction

Tim Jacobs
1st Assistant Director

Chicago Fire, An Acceptable Loss

Join past Emmy winners who serve as judges for other regional chapters and hear their recommendations for how to showcase your best work in an entry. Panelists include: Diana Borri, Emmy Awards Co-Chair; Pam Grimes, Retired Producer (WGN); Mike Lowe, Reporter, WGN; Hector Perez, President, Rocket Productions

Watch Video of Career Day - Hear from outstanding Chicago TV professionals, leaders in their field, about the background needed for a television/new media job.

Moderator: Brandon Pope, Host, WCIU & President, NABJ; Attendees included:
* Adrienne Balow, News Producer, WGN
* Jessie Garcia, News Director, WDJT Milwaukee
* Cortney Hall & Matt Rodrigues, Hosts, Chicago Today
* Mike Hall, Sports Anchor, Big Ten Network
* Sean Lewis, Anchor/Reporter, WGN
* Nneka Nwosu, Assistant News Director, WLS
* Alicia Roman, Meteorologist, WMAQ


Held on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022

How unconscious biases impact story coverage on-air & newsroom environments. Co-sponsored with the National Association of Black Journalists – Chicago Chapter.


Moderator – Marshall Harris, Sports Anchor, WBBM-TV 

Panelists – Polnesha Barnes, Special Projects Producer, WLS-TV Chicago; Taylor Musgrove, Programming, WLS-TV Chicago; Josh Short, Anchor, KDVR-TV, Denver; Taurean Small, Reporter, Spectrum, Washington D.C. 


Held on Saturday, Dec 11, 2021

Hear from top Chicago TV directors how to be the best in this competitive position, how the craft has evolved in recent years, how technology and COVID changed the industry, and what the future might look like.

Moderator: Javier Aguilar, Freelance Director, Telemundo Chicago; Panelists: Kevin Dusold, Director, Marquee Sports Network; Steven Novak, Director, WGN; Bertha Serrano, Director, Fox 32 Chicago; Jorge Pacheco, Director, Telemundo Chicago