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Posts from — September 2009

September 14, 2009: A Student Voice

The Canyon Call

College of the Canyons student journalist Lynette Liberda signed the online petition to save the Canyon Call.

Liberda sized up the shuttering of the school newspaper this way:

“Journalism is not only important for students who are majoring in journalism, it is important for all of the students at COC! If I had not participated in the Canyon Call, I would have never attended any school functions and realized what a great school we have. Being able to share that information through the photos I took and stories I wrote was truly fulfilling. We need our voice back, please give it to us.”

For journalism students who once worked at the Canyon Call, the process was less about getting a byline or photo credit and more about learning and embracing the importance of working as a team, building relationships, hitting deadlines and practicing proper ethics.
Those are qualities that serve students once they leave the safety and security of college life for the real world.

College of the Canyons needs its school paper back. Please sign our online petition and give us your view.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 22

September 13, 2009   Comments Off

September 13, 2009: “College of the Canyons students are big losers with the loss of a student voice through the college newspaper.”

Reading the Newspaper

That’s the voice of Rich Cameron, chair of the Mass Communications Department at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Cameron teaches a variety of journalism courses at Cerritos College and advises the school newspaper, the Talon Marks.

He is also President of the California Journalism Education Coalition as well as Communications Director/Secretary for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a non-profit educational corporation run by an elected board of directors who represent students and faculty from around the state of California.

Cameron signed the online petition to save the College of the Canyons Journalism Department and the student newspaper, the Canyon Call, from extinction.

Here’s the rest of Cameron’s petition post: “Administrators need to do more than count beans during tight budget times and realize that the existence of small programs that serve the wider campus are part of what makes a college a community and not just a student factory.”

With the recent elimination of the 40-year-old Canyon Call and the journalism classes that support it, students have lost their best opportunity at a First Amendment voice on campus. Please take the time to sign our petition to bring back the campus newspaper.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 21

September 13, 2009   Comments Off

September 12, 2009: Shovelin’ It

(Photo Courtesy of Bruce McFarland/For The Signal)

College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook lifts the ceremonial first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony on campus Sept. 10. (Photo Courtesy of Bruce McFarland/For The Signal)

On Sept. 11, The Signal ran a news story on the groundbreaking ceremony for a $10.7 million expansion project at College of the Canyons that will add 16 classrooms, a dozen offices and two conference rooms to Mentry Hall.

The construction’s funding was made possible by Measure M, a $160-million bond approved by voters in 2006. Completion is expected by fall 2010.

Mentry Hall is home to Media Entertainment Arts, Animation, Architectural Drafting & Technology, Interior Design, Visual Art & Art History, Photography, Graphic & Multimedia Design and the school’s Art Gallery. It was once headquarters to the student newspaper, the Canyon Call, until the Journalism Department moved into newly built Hasley Hall a couple of years ago.

Now after COC’s administration recently pulled the plug on the Canyon Call and the five Journalism classes that support it, journalism at the bustling campus has been reduced to just two courses: Mass Media and Society (J-100) and Beginning News Writing (J-105).

Journalism is now “odd man out” as school administrators focus their efforts and the college’s considerable resources on the other media-related departments that will populate an expanded Mentry Hall.

Completely lost in the shuffle is that the gutting of journalism on campus takes away the best opportunity for a student First Amendment voice.

Incoming freshmen probably didn’t realize the Canyon Call flew out the door when they arrived on campus Aug. 24, but returning students have every right to be outraged at the decision by COC’s administration to eliminate the newspaper.

It has now come down to this: If you’re a COC student and you have an opinion you want to express about something happening on campus, tough luck.

A similar article on the groundbreaking ceremony can be found on the web site of local Santa Clarita Valley radio station KHTS AM-1220.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 20

September 12, 2009   Comments Off

September 11, 2009: “Every college needs a newspaper. A campus newspaper provides a sense of community, and so a community college without a newspaper is but half a college.”

Those are the words of Allan Lovelace, who signed the online petition to save the Canyon Call, the school newspaper of College of the Canyons.

COC administration’s decision to drop the Canyon Call and the journalism classes that support it has left the school without the student-run news-dissemination source that operated effectively on campus since the college was founded in 1969 — and instantly eliminated the best opportunity students had for a First Amendment voice on campus.

The coalition of concerned students, educators, journalists and private citizens who operate and sponsor this web site fully acknowledge the chokehold the economy has around our community college system. Our goal is to present to school administration a forward-thinking curriculum proposal that is simple and cost-effective to implement, meets the challenges of the times and realistically prepares students for a career in journalism. This would include print and online editions of the Canyon Call.

We need your help and support in persuading COC administration to listen to our proposal and make a good-faith effort to find the resources necessary to carry it out.

Please take the time to voice your opinion, in writing, to Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, Assistant Superintendent & Vice President of Instruction Mr. Mitjl Capet and the members of the Board of Trustees, all of whom are listed on the left-hand side of this home page.

Help us to save the Canyon Call today.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 19

September 10, 2009   Comments Off

September 10, 2009: The Canyon Call is not the first California community college newspaper to come under attack

In May 2009, administrators at Cerritos College in Norwalk decided to eliminate classes that consistently enrolled less than 20 students. One of those classes earmarked for elimination was Journalism 105, which produced the print edition of the 53-year-old student newspaper, the Talon Marks.

Upon the announcement, current and former staff members of the Talon Marks formed a committee to urge the administration to reverse its decision. The committee’s key platforms were to uphold the First Amendment, to continue serving the community and to preserve academic freedom and the integrity of the journalism program.

While the publication still had its online edition, the print edition served as a tangible source of news for students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The committee feared that the elimination of the print edition of the Talon Marks would lead to the elimination of the journalism program at Cerritos College.

With support from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, California Newspaper Publishers Association and various media outlets, the committee held rallies and organized a petition drive.

The committee’s hard work paid off.

In June, Cerritos College administrators and the Journalism Department reached an accord that kept Journalism 105 in the class catalog for the fall 2009 semester. The compromise they struck was that the required 20-student enrollment level could be achieved by merging Journalism 105 with another class in order to guarantee the minimum requirement was met. As part of the agreement, committee members made presentations to local high schools to generate interest in the college’s journalism program.

It was a relatively simple solution, one that College of the Canyons administration could have implemented instead of simply dropping the ax on the Journalism Department and the Canyon Call.

Click here for more information on the effort to save the print edition of the Talon Marks.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 18

September 10, 2009   Comments Off

September 9, 2009: Voices in the Journalism Community

The online petition drive to save the College of the Canyons Journalism Department and the Canyon Call is underway and gaining momentum. Here is a small sampling of comments posted in just the past few days:

Nancy Kaplan-Biegel of the San Mateo County Community College District — “Protecting student press goes far beyond protecting students. It extends to protecting and nurturing a vibrant democracy, documenting school history, and creating community. Please reconsider.”

Erin Hiro of Palomar College in San Marcos — “This goes beyond money. This is a historical archive of the school and a valuable learning tool for your students!”

Judith Pfeffer of Victor Valley Community College in Victorville — “Having taught journalism at four community colleges in Southern California (and serving as adviser at two of them), I urge the restoration of the Canyon Call. A campus paper benefits not only the student journalists, but the entire college.”

Prof. Mark Larson of Humboldt State University in Arcata — “The 4-year programs in journalism NEED the 2-year journalism programs to be vital, and that includes a student-newspaper production class. Please find support to keep this important instructional area.”

Make a difference by clicking on the Sign our Petition link to lend your support. Add your name to the growing list of people who disagree with the college’s decision to drop the Canyon Call and the journalism classes that support it. Comments are optional.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 17

September 9, 2009   Comments Off

September 8, 2009: The Mission Begins

The Signal Breaks the News On August 9, 2009, The Signal, the Santa Clarita Valley’s 90-year-old daily community newspaper, carried a front-page story by staff writer Tammy Marashlian about the demise of the College of the Canyons Journalism Department and the venerable student newspaper the Canyon Call. The story’s headline read: “Student newspaper classes canceled at COC — Officials say enrollment in journalism courses too low.” Here’s the link to the story.

Signal Editorial Board Denounces Decisions by COC AdministrationOn August 16, 2009, The Signal’s Editorial Board ran an editorial critical of COC administration’s decision to ax the newspaper. The headline of the opinion piece was “Our View: One cut schools can’t afford.” The Editorial Board characterized the loss of the paper and the 200-level journalism classes supporting it this way: “Along with those classes goes the best opportunity for a student First Amendment voice on the Valencia and Canyon Country community college campuses.” Here’s the link to the editorial.

Los Angeles Times Reports on Similar Student-Newspaper Closure at Cal-State Dominguez Hills On August 28, 2009, the Los Angeles Times ran a story by staff writer James Rainey on how state budget cuts led to the shuttering of the Dominguez Bulletin, the student newspaper at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson. In that story, James Suldanik, a professor of communications in his 30th year at the school, called the newspaper “the foundation for campus communication” and said its demise will be “a huge loss.” It’s not difficult to draw some stark parallels between the loss of the Bulletin and the Canyon Call. Here’s the link to the story.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 16

September 8, 2009   Comments Off