HAMMOND — A 2012 Highland High School grad, who was in the first class of students in the Multimedia Broadcast Academy at the Hammond Area Career Center, told students Monday his career center experience helped him land a job in television news.

Daniel Zar, 23, is a weekend morning show news producer for Fox 17 News in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Zar told students he sat in the same chairs they are in today when he was a student in the Multimedia Broadcasting program at the career center. He said Robert Love was the instructor then, and Zar said he still keeps in touch with him. Stephanie Reiser has been the instructor for more than two years now. She has 25 students in the Multimedia Broadcast Academy I and II.

After high school, Zar went on to Columbia College in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree, with a concentration in multimedia news reporting and writing. He graduated in December 2015.

“The skills that I learned in this classroom still help me out today,” he told students in the Multimedia Broadcasting Academy at the Hammond Area Career Center.

“I write and produce a four-hour morning show, update the Web with new content each hour, listen to the police scanner and follow breaking news and assign photographers and editors to stories,” he said.

Zar also did a six-month internship at WGN in Chicago writing news and video editing. He worked almost a year at Blue Island TV writing and producing the news while in college.

“When you produce the news, you’re writing what the anchors read,” he said. “You have to make sure your writing is crisp and clear. Photos are really important.

“We want people to stay with us. It’s important to write so that people can relate to each other, and it’s funny,” he said, adding that it’s important the anchors are relatable to the audience.

Zar encouraged students to look for a college that offers internships. He told them to be willing to volunteer to get the experience they need to build a good resume.

Senior Erica Guevara, 18, plas to attend Columbia and will focus on editing.

“I could major in several areas, because I have learned so much here,” she said. “We write the news, then give it to the on-air talent. They add or delete things and we rewrite it when we get them back. We have to know how to work the camera and the camera shots.”

Senior Ashley Stenger intends to attend Columbia or DePauw University and major in film with a concentration in direction.

“This class has given me knowledge in the equipment, and I understand the industry standards,” she said. “I’m used to working in a team environment. What he told us was interesting and helps. His talk showed us how he got internships and got his foot in the door.”

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Education reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.