By Hannah Poole, Public Information intern
"I never thought it would be possible for me to do what I'm doing here," Monica Rogozinski said. "I've only been at WHYY for a year and a half." Philadelphia was still a relatively new city to Monica when she started as a television producer for WHYY. She and her husband moved here from New York City a few years ago to start a family and buy a house after her husband landed a job at Olin Partnership in Philadelphia.
"I lived in New York for 15 years," Monica said. "I never envisioned myself leaving." Then again, Monica never originally envisioned herself staying in New York, either. "I moved to New York 20 years ago to pursue a six-month degree in film from NYU," she explained. "I didn't intend to stay, but of course my six-month plan turned into a five-year course of study."
With a focus on cinematography — specifically for documentaries — Monica entered the world of independent film, then nearing its peak in New York City. "But once the indie scene became more popular and mainstream, the industry really shifted," she said. "Those of us who didn't want to follow it to Hollywood also had to shift our focus." Monica said she was lucky to have built a network of peers and artists to help facilitate the shift. "We sort of all drifted together, towards television."
Monica did freelance cinematography for AMC, HBO and Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central. "I really got caught up in television," she said. "I have to credit so much of my background in New York with giving me the tools for what I'm doing at WHYY." Monica's current project is producing the "Art of Food" segment for WHYY's new arts, culture and entertainment magazine, Friday Arts, which debuts April 2 at 8:30 p.m.
"Working on the segment is a dream come true for me," she said. "I love food and am always looking for interesting and creative stories in food consumption and preparation." Monica's days are now filled with all aspects of production for the segment. "I'm a producer-slash-everything," she said, laughing. "I'm involved in directing, writing and pre-editing, as well as finding stories, scheduling shoots and working with the crew."
Monica said having the freedom to work on the kind of projects she's passionate about has been the greatest reward of her job at WHYY. "To work against the vibrant backdrop of Philadelphia and its people and culture is something I really can't take for granted," she added. "Everyone here has been so welcoming and helpful. I love collaboration. I am used to being a part of a crew, and that's what I find in Philly and at WHYY."