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September 24, 2009: Stick a fork in the Canyon Call. It’s done.

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That was the stark reality to emerge from a front-page story in the Sept. 22, 2009 edition of The Signal entitled “Students protest newspaper’s demise — COC officials move ahead with new media division.”

Signal staff writer Tammy Marashlian summed it up this way in her lead paragraph: “College of the Canyons’ decision to eliminate the print version of its student newspaper, replace it with a Web site and change the makeup of the journalism program has drawn the ire of current and former students.”

Marashlian reported that in August, COC officials canceled five journalism classes and put the award-winning student newspaper on hiatus, citing low enrollment. In addition, she wrote that the changes imposed by COC’s administration reportedly represent a transition into the college’s Media Entertainment Arts, a new division that is expected to replace the current Radio/TV/Film program. According to COC officials, the shift to an online-only product was intended to provide students with what they characterized as an “up-to-date journalism education.”

David Brill, Media Entertainment Arts and Radio/TV/Film instructor at the college, recently received approval of curriculum for a New Media Journalism Degree. According to the Signal story, pending state approval, students can earn an Associate in Arts Degree in New Media Journalism beginning in fall 2010. Brill advised this web site that his department was “in the infant stages of restoring an online campus publication at College of the Canyons,” saying that students are now photographing and writing stories published at cougarnews.wordpress.com.

Brill went on to tell this web site the following: “I believe in campus and local news. I am committed to it, and I firmly believe that our new website when complete will be something we can all be proud of.”

The Canyon Call has never had an online component, so Cougar News is certainly a positive step in this regard. However, the coalition sponsoring this web site believes there is a place in Media Entertainment Arts for all forms of media to work hand-in-hand, and this includes a print version of the Canyon Call.

A representative from the coalition intends to meet with Brill in the next few days to learn more about the curriculum and how a print version of the Canyon Call might be considered as a component in the transition to New Media Journalism.

Click here for the full Signal story.

Click here to go to Cougar News.

Click here to sign the online petition to bring back the Canyon Call.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 32