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Cyclones all over the world

Brandy Tuzon Boyd, Mills class of 1991 with a BA in communications, holds up a sign advertizing her online news website, the Natomas Buzz, founded in 2007. (Photos courtesy of Brandy Tuzon Boyd)

By the time Brandy Tuzon Boyd was in 7th grade she already had a love for journalism.

She had her own paper route and when she was a high school junior and senior in Washington state she was busy reporting for her school’s newspaper.

Tuzon Boyd  attended Mills from the fall of 1987 to May of 1991 as a Communications major.

“My first semester was the first year Sarah Pollock, head of the Journalism program and English and Journalism professor, taught at Mills; her class Journalism 1 solidified what I knew I wanted to do,” Tuzon Boyd said. “Because she required us to stay up on current events, [on goings] at the police station, court cases and required us to leave campus, made it as a career more interesting.”

In 1990, when the protests against making Mills College a co-educational campus were just beginning, Tuzon Boyd’s worked with Meredith May on The Campanil. May is now a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle and a visiting Journalism professor at Mills.

Upon graduating from Mills, Tuzon Boyd worked for several newspapers including The Willows Journal, where she reported on agriculture and water issues, the Tracy Press, the Salinas Californian and the Sacramento Bee.

Upon leaving the Sacramento Bee, Tuzon Boyd started freelancing, and at the end of 2007, she started her own news website, the Natomas Buzz.

Her news website focused on Natomas, a community in Sacramento that contains the King’s Arco Arena., the Columbia Journalism Review, a bi-monthly publication from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, released a profile on the Buzz and Tuzon Boyd’s work and why she started the Buzz in 2011.

“It was the lack of  meaningful news coverage, there were no more neighborhood sections at The Sacramento Bee,” Tuzon Boyd told the Columbia Journalism Review. “If we were covered it was usually quick hit pieces, some crime or school board stories. It was very in and out, not really in-depth
or effective.”

Upon starting the Buzz, Tuzon Boyd conferred with colleagues and friends to see if they agreed with her thoughts on Natomas not getting enough in-depth coverage, and began thinking about starting what would become the Natomas Buzz for about 6-9 months before actually starting the official
Natomas Buzz.

The Buzz has been publishing for more than 4 years now; Tuzon Boyd considers the Buzz’s anniversary to be in January, and will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of publishing and writing the Natomas Buzz next year.

Last year was the first year Tuzon Boyd began recruiting student interns from the four local high schools in the Natomas region to be either journalism or photography interns for the Buzz, in an attempt to give local students more opportunities to become involved
in journalism.

“There aren’t any programs at schools for young people who want to pursue journalism,” Tuzon Boyd told the Columbia Journalism Review. “They might have a video thing or yearbook, but in terms of print medium or writing there isn’t anything that supports that.”

I was one of her first journalism interns. She taught me and the other interns the basics of journalism writing and tips on
basic photography.

Last year, when a student from my high school went missing, I was the first to let Tuzon Boyd know and I kept her updated throughout the time the student was missing.

Tuzon Boyd’s interns mainly report on events at the school. I started out reporting food drives and open mic nights, but some interns, began reporting on events in the community such as school board meetings or community award ceremonies.

“It turned out to work out really well (having the interns),” Tuzon Boyd said. “Like when the student went missing at your school, you told me right away or when the power went out in Natomas last week, an intern texted me from Natomas High (a school on the other side of Natomas from where Tuzon Boyd lives) to tell me that the power was out there as well.”