Toni Albertson is a professor of journalism and adviser student media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she teaches digital journalism, multimedia storytelling, mass media, and public relations, and advises the all-digital student media.
Since coming to Mt. SAC in 2006, she turned around a troubled journalism program with low enrollment and turned it into an award-winning program that was called by Nieman Lab “the most daring, innovative college media outlets in the United States.”
Toni’s philosophy that inspires her teaching is deep-rooted in her belief that without innovation and experimentation, journalism and media cannot thrive and survive.
In 2015, she led the student media staff and stopped all print publications, and in a unique partnership, moved the college’s student newsroom over to Medium and became the only college student publication that was part of Medium’s beta-test.
Toni later entered into a partnership with the Washington Post’s Arc Publishing alongside USC Annenberg and Columbia School of Journalism making the Mt. SAC journalism program the only community college accepted into the Post’s pilot program.
Under Toni’s guidance, the student media launched a hyper-local reporting news site on Twitter, with student staff covering more than 15 local communities, the award-winning Latinx platform Somos, and the award-winning sports series SACDawgs.
Toni was named “Distinguished Multimedia Adviser” by the College Media Association in 2015.
In 2019, Toni inspired students to create the series “Voices” that would allow non-journalism students from underrepresented communities to create and publish content on the student media. She hosted writing and multimedia workshops and one-on-one mentoring to these students to assure their voices were accurately heard.
Toni was honored that year by the California Journalism Education Coalition as “Journalism Educator of the Year.”
Previously, Toni was a professor at Los Angeles Pierce College and Los Angeles City College where she taught mass media and newswriting courses, and a professor of journalism and adviser of the student newspaper at Oxnard College where she taught newswriting, mass media public relations, and newspaper production.
She was hired at Los Angeles Trade Tech College to restart the student newspaper and it was during that time that she founded “The Journalism Project,” designed to restart or rescue vulnerable or defunct student newspapers. She also conducted “The Future of California Community College Journalism Programs and Student Newspapers” study published by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges JACC.
She is vice president of the California College Media Association CCMA, Innovation Coordinator for the JACC, and past president of the Community College Journalism Association CCJA and division programming chair for AEJMC. She is a consulting member of the Associated Collegiate Press ACP, and a member of the College Media Association CMA, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists NAHJ, and the First Amendment Coalition.
Before entering academics in 2003, Toni worked in the arts and entertainment field as managing editor of an internationally distributed entertainment magazine through Time-Warner, and owner and CEO of one of the largest entertainment public relations and booking agencies in Hollywood. She was a daily feature writer for the Ventura County newspaper, a columnist for the Ventura County Reporter, and a radio host of the “Entertainment Report” for Gold Coast Broadcasting, and a freelance writer for various arts and entertainment publications.
She also worked extensively in the Los Angeles and Ventura County area as a public relations consultant for Whisenhunt Public Relations where her clients came from the education and business sectors.
Toni has a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Nebraska. Her research focused on the vulnerable state of print journalism and the need for innovation in college newsrooms.
Toni speaks nationally on the topics of digital media, innovation, audience driven content, and the merge of public relations and journalism to engage audiences and examine audience data. She has conducted workshops on digital media, audience engagement, digital storytelling, and journalism and media program recruitment.