Las Positas has had more than a few students go on to bigger things. Several local celebrities – KTVU’s Gasia Mikaelian, for one – started at Las Positas or otherwise have direct ties to the campus. Nineveh Dinha is in the first category.
Dinha, a former news anchor at Salt Lake City’s Fox affiliate KSTU, was at Las Positas for just under 2 years (2000-2002) before she transferred to CSU Hayward (now CSU East Bay.) “I was never one of those kids who grew up knowing what they wanted to do with their life. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. It wasn’t until I started here that I discovered my passion and love for journalism. I always knew I enjoyed writing, I just didn’t know how to translate that passion into a career. While at Las Positas, she was co-editor of the Express. She says that’s where her passion for reporting and storytelling was born. “I don’t think I realized what a gift being co-editor of the paper was, at the time. I go back and I look at how much that’s influenced me.”
She says she still remembers something Melissa Korber, faculty advisor to the Express, told her ten years ago: “It really struck me: She said she feels good knowing that I will be out there muckraking.” Dinha admits that she didn’t immediately know what Korber meant by that, but with Her coming up, it makes sense now. “She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time.”
After Las Positas, Dinha went to Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay.) Initially interested in print journalism (until seeing what print journalists’ finances look like, and having “no interest in being broke the rest of my life,”) Dinha switched gears and majored in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcasting. That involved internships and shadowing reporters on bay area TV.
She says that in college, you are only required to do one semester of internship. She did it for a couple of years, despite not getting any extra college credit. “I had no desire to be on television. And I want to say that there’s really no room for people who just want to be on TV. It’s a slap in the face of journalism.” It was when she shadowed KTVU’s Tom Vacar to Sacramento that she was blown away. “I instantly fell in love with television news reporting.”
Dinha had her first job in television news three weeks before graduating, and hadn’t even taken her finals. “My first market was Yuma, Arizona. I originally went in as a weekend news anchor and reporter. At the time I had no interest in anchoring at all. I didn’t really understand that role.”
But her first news director, Luis Cruz, offered her a weekend anchor/reporter position. “He thought that I was ‘anchor material,’ whatever that means.” Three or four months later, she was promoted to main anchor.” Spending hours editing tape and being paid $19,0000 a year, she says she really got to understand anchoring.
Dinha then went to Salt Lake City, where she spent the remainder of her broadcast career – eight years. She worked “a number of different positions,” from morning anchor-reporter to evening weekend-anchor-reporter to even having her own show…while still reporting the news. She got to a point where the career was no longer fulfilling. She reexamined why she started her career in the first place. “Why it is that I fell in love with journalism, and what was it about my career ten years later that had me on the edge of despising it. And it truly came down to losing the ability to create and to share the stories I felt would resonate with the audience. What it became was a job.”
Despite offers to go to bigger markets (Seattle, San Diego,) Dinha left KSTU, and the broadcast journalism field altogether last year to start an online magazine, the name of which – Her Magazine – gives a big hint of its intended audience. “The slogan for Her is ‘unmake tradition.’ The magazine really recognizes the pioneering achievements of today’s women, who are forging the path for others to make their mark. We’re unwavering in our cause, we celebrate the unabashed contributions of women in business society with iron fists, celebrating with flamboyance. Her represents the quintessential woman, who, in her elegance carries this pursuit without fear.”
In fact, she says there was a little hint of Her eventual publication here on campus. “It was during my LPC days when I was in the Express writing stories that I first had an idea to start a magazine. I remember pulling it up on the computer in our room (then in the 300 building), and typing out “Plum Magazine.” That’s what I thought I wanted to call it at the time. It really goes back to where it all started, which is kinda crazy.”
Dinha is married to former Oakland Raiders tight end John Madsen, although they met after his football career was over. “We randomly were connected on Twitter.” Being on TV meant being conscious of her appearance at all times. She felt she needed to lose weight, and put it out on Twitter. Someone suggested she try Madsen’s facility “because he’s one of the best.” She says after three or four months, he finally got the nerve to ask her out. “Although the story goes that he had seen me on the news before, and now that we’re married almost two years, he says when we watched me that he knew we would be together someday … is that creepy?” she laughs.
She says Madsen is “super supportive of all my dreams. He’s a guy who married me for me, and not the girl on TV.”
When pressed for some advice, Dinha said, “No vision or dream is too big.” She advises people to not limit themselves, “in thinking of what you’re capable of doing. Because as kids or even as college students … somewhere … you lose (or tuck away) the ability to dream, and to imagine what life could be like.” She says to hold onto that.