NIAF Networks in Los Angeles


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

While relentless rain replaced the gentle snow of 2004’s NIAF media networking dinner, this year’s Los Angeles gathering, held February 17, was no less spirited. About 40 print, radio, TV and online journalists enjoyed camaraderie and cuisine at La Piazza. The Grove developer and NIAF board member Rick Caruso hosted the dinner consisting of Italian house specialties.

Joining the Italian American and Italian media were NIAF President Joseph R. Cerrell, the Foundation’s area coordinator Marcella Leonetti-Tyler and Diego Brasioli, Italy’s Consul General.Silvia Bizio, correspondent for La Repubblica/ L’Espresso, and Doug DeLuca, co-executive producer for Jimmy Kimmel Live-ABC-TV, served as co-chairs of the event.

Amid the wine, pasta, steak and fellowship, The Consul General outlined details of plans by the consulate and several organizations for a half-year celebration of Italian culture. The calendar of events includes receptions, art exhibits, an American Cinematique program saluting Italian filmmakers, and a new edition of the city’s recently inaugurated, highly successful Feast of San Gennaro.

Another highlight of the networking dinner was Rita Andriello’s mid-meal presentation. The actress performed a 10-minute excerpt from her one-woman show, Tomatoes on a Windowsill, a warm, character-rich recollection of growing up Italian-American that struck plenty of resonant chords with the guests.

Even though the evening ended, as it always seems, too soon, it offered a conducive environment for people to meet, reconnect and share professional and personal experiences. This year attendees represented such organizations as the Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety, the Los Angeles Business Journal, CBS TV, Fox Sports Radio, KTLA TV, Metropolitan News Enterprise, Il Corriere della Sera , L’Italo Americano and Il Sole 24 Ore.

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