From crime to camels, Samantha Cortese, BFA television broadcast journalism ’11, has the scoop on what’s happening in Palm Springs.  Samantha attributes her success as the morning reporter for the CBS and ABC affiliates in Palm Springs to the hard work and connections she made at Chapman.  Read on to see what advice Samantha has for current students about how to make the most of their Chapman experience.

Tell us about your career- what do you do on a day to day basis?

I am a morning reporter. I’m at work, primped and ready, by 4 a.m. for the CBS Local 2 and KESQ News Channel 3 Morning Newscasts (CBS, ABC Palm Springs). I have my script written and mostly memorized to be out of the door by 4:20, and I am live on air from 5 – 7 a.m. Sometimes it’s breaking news like crime or death, other times it’s desert tortoise and camels. The unpredictability is the best part.

What insight would you give to current students and alumni who are searching for employment?

Intern and be nice to everyone. You never know who your next connection will be!

What advice do you have for current students who want to make the most out of their time at Chapman?

Go to every Chapman event you can find time for, every football game, spend more time at the beach, read a book at the piazza, and run in the
Chapman 5K

From your time at Chapman, which faculty member(s) made the greatest impact on you and why?

    • Pete Weitzner. His insight in the business combined with his confidence in his students is what makes the Chapman Mafia the fastest growing mob in the television and news media industry.


    • Sheryl Bourgeois.  She spent time with me as if I was the only student on campus. Mrs. Bourgeois exemplifies the Chapman University faculty’s commitment to student success.


How has your Chapman degree helped you in your professional and personal life?

Professionally, Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is one of the most technologically advanced campuses, and employers know that. Graduates with a degree from Dodge are expected to perform at a higher level in the workplace, with a set of skills that employers search for. Chapman University has set a higher level of expectations for me personally. My Chapman peers and colleagues keep me motivated in the business world as much as they did in the classroom, and I have the intimate setting of Chapman University to thank for that.

How were you involved on campus during your time as a Chapman student? (clubs, organizations, etc.)

I was a Chapman University cheerleader, and a founder of the current “Chapman News” broadcast that airs every Friday on AT&T U-Verse straight from Dodge College. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been hired on as a producer at CBS if not for that experience.

What is your favorite Chapman memory?

Other than opening my acceptance letter, I have two.

    1.  Producing the Friday newscast with my best friends at Dodge. We learned so much about each other, while building skills needed for our job at the same time.


    1.  Decorating the locker room for Homecoming is one of my most memorable moments at Chapman. Who says we don’t have school spirit!? The boys didn’t know we would blast their music while hanging streamers, taping posters, taking pictures, and hiding candy in the stalls.


What was your favorite spot on campus as a student?

My favorite spot on campus is the piazza. It’s beautiful. One moment it’s full of students, laughter, and music, the next it’s a peaceful and often sunny spot to watch the locals walk their dogs. I left Chapman before the dorm pool was built, or else I’m sure I’d have spent a solid amount of time there.

Have you been involved with Chapman since graduating?

Since graduating in 2011, I’ve helped a couple Chapman students land internships at my station. I’ve also attended the news class to share what life is really like as a small-market reporter. Lastly, I’ve run in the Chapman 5K and I LOVE it! I drag my family and friends along with me. It’s the fastest way to show them the campus and Old Towne Orange!

 Anything else you’d like to share with the Chapman Family?

Alumni, put that license plate on your car! I’d like to send a quick and sincere thank you to my mentor, without whom this education and experience at Chapman University wouldn’t be possible.

Explore and Connect Further:

Samantha Cortese ’11: Then and Now


Samantha in 2010

THEN: Bursting with Panther Pride, Samantha gets ready to cheer at Homecoming her senior year.



NOW: Samantha prepares for the unpredictable as she does the CBS Local 2 and KESQ News Channel 3 Morning Newscasts.

Want to get in touch with Samantha?
Twitter: @SamanthaCortese


Post by Ash Stockemer ’14