Monday, February 06, 2012

Another community college newspaper bites the dust

I got this email from my journalism adviser Toni Albertson in my inbox this morning. It's an article about the demise of yet another community college newspaper.

As someone who got his training in the field from a community college and beyond (I got an A.A. from Mt. SAC, but prior to that I did work and took classes at several area schools including East L.A. College where I took some public relations courses and Citrus College in Glendora where I contributed and photographed for the student newspaper The Clarion)

I am a journalist by trade, so whenever I hear about a newspaper going out of print, this always makes me a bit sad. Not just because newspapers are essential for disseminating information, but also because I would be nervous about attending an institution where there is no watchdog to keep an eye on the machinations and moves of entities such as the student government or the administration.

From the article, it does not sound as though the Lance was discontinued for nefarious reasons, it may have been simply a casualty of low enrollment, but this is disturbing in itself, considering community college enrollments have increased as a result of the recession. When there are fewer jobs out there, people tend to go back to school to improve themselves, so if enrollment is increasing, why is the converse true for journalism at Shasta College?

It seems this college is reducing their journalism courses, rather than maintaining their program. If it is simply a matter of supply and demand, i.e. fewer students are choosing journalism as a career path, it would be one thing, but it sounds as though there are students that are willing to take classes to pursue a certificate program in journalism (the college doesn't offer an A.A. in journalism) and it seems that these students now will have to wait until fall to take the classes, unless enrollment dooms the program another semester.

Some institutions are trying their best to roll with the punches of a changing working world and incorporating said changes into their curriculum, teaching their students new era techniques such as social media, video editing and other skills set now necessary in journalistic and media related careers.

I think that Shasta College is doing its college a great disservice by phasing out the newspaper production class, and administration should do everything in their power to bring the newspaper back because without the proper training ground for students to practice their craft, they have little options for preparing for future careers. Also, the school needs a newspaper to watch over the entities which run the school, otherwise there is no accountability for their actions, or no entity in place to hold them accountable, which is a very dangerous and undemocratic way to run a school.

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