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About Us

"SoCal Connected" is KCET's weekly award-winning, prime time newsmagazine offering public TV and online viewers in-depth stories on the environment, economy, health, social and community issues, local history and other substantive topics.

The longest running newsmagazine program in Los Angeles has a renewed commitment to always questioning critical decisions that impact Angelenos.

Now in its 8th season, "SoCal Connected" is the winner of a Peabody® and two duPont Awards, 27 Emmy® Awards, 26 Golden Mikes, and 51 LA Press Club Awards. It is hosted by 16-time Emmy award winner, Val Zavala. "SoCal Connected" airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Click here for a complete list of awards.

Our Team

Anchor

Vice President of News & Public Affairs Val Zavala is the anchor of SoCal Connected. Since joining KCET in 1987 she has covered major issues in Southern California politics, education, government, demographics, healthcare, environment, economy, arts and culture.

Winner of 16 L.A. Emmy awards, she has also been honored for her community service by numerous organizations -- among them, the California Chicano News Media Association and Hispanic Americans for Fairness in Media.

She was a John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University, received her M.A. in journalism from American University and her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Yale University.

Val Zavala, SoCal Connected anchor
Val Zavala

Executive Producer

Karen Foshay is executive producer of SoCal Connected.  While a senior producer at KCET, she won two duPont-Columbia silver batons and a George Foster Peabody Award. She is a veteran journalist who has worked in both radio and television, including NBC News, CBS News, Al Jazeera America, KPCC and KCRW.

 

Karen Foshay Author Bio Picture
Karen Foshay

Reporters

Vince Beiser
Vince Beiser

Vince Beiser is an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles. Vince has reported from over 100 countries, states, provinces, emirates, kingdoms, occupied territories, liberated areas, aircraft carriers, no man’s lands and disaster zones. He has exposed conditions in California’s harshest prisons, trained with troops bound for Iraq, ridden with the first responders to disasters in Haiti and Nepal and hunted down other stories from around the world for publications including Wired, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Guardian, The Village Voice, The Nation, Mother Jones, Playboy, Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, and The New York Times.

Vince's work has been honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Columbia, Medill and Missouri Graduate Schools of Journalism, the National Mental Health Association, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and many other institutions. He has twice been part of a team that won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the magazine industry’s highest honor. He is also a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

He is currently at work on a book for Penguin-Random House about the deadly global war for the world’s most important yet most overlooked commodity: sand.

Nic Cha Kim
Nic Cha Kim

 

Nic Cha Kim is a reporter for "SoCal Connected" and filmmaker for "Artbound." Since 2012, Nic's documentaries "The Spirit of North Shore," "Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras," "Songs in the Key of L.A.: The Bedrock Sessions," "Thank You For Coming" and "Art Battle L.A." have all premiered on KCET.

He received the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award in 2015 for his segment "Radio Personality Art Laboe," and has won 2 Los Angeles Area Emmys, 3 Golden Mikes, and a SoCal Journalism Award from the L.A. Press Club.

Also a writer and activist, Nic blogs about digital art at Niche.LA Video Art and founded arts district Gallery Row in downtown Los Angeles.

 

Deepa Fernandes
Deepa Fernandes

Deepa Fernandes is a journalist who has covered guerrilla insurgencies, natural disasters and political coups in countries from Haiti to East Timor. She currently covers global stories of children, women, immigrants and the environment for PRI's The World. Most recently she was the Early Childhood Development Correspondent for KPCC.  Prior to Southern California Public Radio, Deepa founded and ran a national non-profit that aimed to diversify the ranks of journalism by training new reporters in 
communities of color, and she was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 2012. She has an MA from Columbia University.

 

 

 

 

Stephanie O’Neill is an award-winning health care journalist and a 2013-2017 NPR/Kaiser Health News health policy reporting fellow.

Stephanie O'Neill
Stephanie O'Neill

Her multi-platform journalism career includes reporting for public radio, public television and newspapers. Staff positions include: Health Care Correspondent for Southern California Public Radio; Los Angeles Bureau Chief for "The California Report" produced by KQED-San Francisco; staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to reporting for KCET’s “SoCal Connected,” Stephanie’s television work included on-air reporting for “California Connected," a statewide, award-winning PBS show; on-air reporting and producing for KCET-TV's "Life & Times" and for KVIE-TV's "California Heartland" and "America's Heartland."

Stephanie has also been published in national magazines, including Columbia Journalism Review, New York Lawyer Magazine and Consumer Reports publications.

Her work has won awards from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association, the Los Angeles Press Club and the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. She has also earned an Emmy nomination.

She holds a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and a B.A. In Political Science/Public Policy from the University of California, Davis. She is 2014 Graduate of the Regional Health Journalism Program conducted by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Away from work, she enjoys riding her horses, hiking with her dogs and hanging out with her human friends and family.

Senior Producer 

Linda Burns
Linda Burns

 

Linda Burns is SoCal Connected's Senior Producer. She has been with the show since its premiere in 2008 -- part of the news team responsible for winning nearly every major journalism award. Prior to that she was supervising producer of Life & Times, KCET's long-running news and public affairs show. She was a special projects producer at NBC-LA and has written and produced news and specials for CBS stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She received an MA in Broadcast Communications from San Francisco State University, and achieves zen by gazing at the photo of her dog next to her computer screen.

 

 

Segment Producers

Dina Dimitrius
Dina Demetrius

Dina Demetrius​ has reported and produced news magazine and investigative stories for Al Jazeera America and previous seasons of KCET's "SoCal Connected."  She also a freelance foreign correspondent on TRT World News reporting and analyzing U.S. news for a global audience. Dina's pieces have also been featured on the nationally syndicated show America Now where she was the show's lead story reporter and producer.

Dina began her network news career at ABC News as a field and story producer. She has covered political campaigns, national breaking news, special events, and culture/entertainment stories from a variety of bureaus.  Dina frequently enterprises and develops stories that are picked up for national and international broadcast. Her written work has appeared in Psychology Today, ABCNews.com, and UnderstandingHealth.com

In 2011, Dina traveled to Nicaragua to direct and produce  a non-profit sponsored feature documentary, filming the stories of aid workers and the people they assist in Nicaragua's toxic and dangerous garbage dumps.

Dina was named a Rising Star by the Los Angeles Business Journal at their 2017 annual Women's Summit. She has been awarded three L.A. area Emmy Awards,  an L.A. Press Club Award for her groundbreaking California fracking investigation, as well as a Golden Mike and other L.A. Press Club awards and Emmy nominations.  She has also been honored as a woman making a difference in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Business Journal's 2015 & 2016 Women's Summits.  Dina lives in Los Angeles, but her hometown Detroit is always in her heart.

 

Kat Keeney
Kat Keeney

Kat Keeney is an award-winning network news and entertainment producer with 15 + years experience covering major events, breaking news and feature stories.  Kat has written and produced in-depth investigative pieces, news magazine segments and international stories for multiple national broadcast outlets.

Lata Pandya
Lata Pandya

Lata Pandya has worked with "SoCal Connected" since 2009. She has won three L.A. Area Emmy Awards and was part of the "SoCal Connected" investigative team that won a 2011 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Journalism for a series of investigative stories holding CAL OSHA and FEMA officials accountable. She freelances with several news organizations in the Los Angeles Area. Lata holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. She is known to be notorious about watching sports while logging tape.

 

 

 

Multi-platform Producer

 

Dennis Nishi
Dennis Nishi

 

Dennis Nishi is a multi-platform producer for SoCal Connected who uses video, illustration and animation to tell stories. He’s been a contributing career and small business writer for the Wall Street Journal; and he’s also produced work for the BBC World Service, NPR and the Chicago Tribune.  

 

 

 

 

 Associate Producer

Marie Targonski-O'Brien
Marie Targonski-OBrien

Marie Targonski-O’Brien is an Associate Producer for KCET’s SoCal Connected. After graduating with an M.S. in Journalism from University of Southern California in 2017, she began working as an Environmental News Associate at KCET in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Previously, Marie worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she oversaw a psychosocial rehabilitation center for vulnerable women and girls in partnership with Panzi Hospital. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Rowan University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Bustle, Ground Truth, and The Inertia.

 

 

Production Manager

Kathy Kasaba
Kathy Kasaba

Kathy Kasaba is the Production Manager for "SoCal Connected." She has been with KCETLink since 1981 and has worked on a variety of KCETLink projects such as "Departures," "LinkAsia," Pledge specials, Huell Howser's "Visiting" and "California Gold," as well as national PTV shows including "American Playhouse," "Tavis Smiley," "Puzzle Place" and "Your Turn to Care." Kathy is a native Californian and received her B.A. in Television Production from Pepperdine University.

 

 

 

Production Supervisor

Robert McDonnell
Robert McDonnell

Robert McDonnell is the winner of two Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards. He has been Production Supervisor of "SoCal Connected" since 2012. Since first joining KCET in 1993, Robert's worked in program development, production and post-production on a wide range of award-winning KCET television programs including: historical documentaries ("American Experience: Woodrow Wilson," "Chasing the Sun," "Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State"); drama series ("PBS Hollywood Presents," "American Family"); animation series ("Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid"); arts specials ("Craft in America," "LA County Holiday Celebration"); science series ("Wired Science"); informational series ("Your Turn to Care"); and daily talk shows ("A Place of Our Own," "Los Niños en Su Casa"). Robert graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Broadcast Journalism, Political Science, and Film.

 

Editors

Alberto Arce rejoins KCET for SoCal Connected's for its eighth season​. This versatile editor of 15-plus years has done online and offline work for Al Jazeera, CBS News and Channel One. He has won several L.A. Area Emmy awards and shared SoCal's Peabody and duPont awards.

 

Michael Bloecher.jpg
Michael Bloecher

Michael Bloecher has been editing feature films, documentaries and long form television programs for over three decades. His work has been featured on HBO, PBS' Frontline and National Geographic. Since 2008, Michael has been an editor for Socal Connected and along the way has earned nearly every top journalism award.  He is the recipient of two duPont Columbia Silver Batons, a George Foster Peabody and over two dozen Emmys, Golden Mikes and Los Angeles Press Club awards. 

 

 

 

 

 

Online editor Michael Kelly has served as online/offline editor and colorist for numerous KCET shows such as “Live @ the Ford”, “Fine Cut” and “Wired Science” -- as well as national PBS productions including “Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times” and “Tavis Smiley Reports.”

Mike won three national Emmy awards for ESPN’s X Games and was nominated for two primetime Emmys.

His past work has included online/offline/colorist work for ESPN, Fox, Complete Post and George Schlatter Productions. Mike has a BA in Radio and Television from Southern Illinois University.

Awards

"SoCal Connected" is the winner of a Peabody®, two duPont Awards, 27 Emmy® Awards, 22 Golden Mikes, and 51 LA Press Club Awards. Click here to see a complete list. 

Contact Us

Questions, comments, story ideas? Send us an email at socalconnected@kcet.org.

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