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October 15, 2009: If this journalism thing falls through, there’s always welding

there's always welding

No doubt by now, COC administrators have received scores of emails, letters and phone calls from students, educators, journalists and private citizens who are gravely concerned about the loss of the 40-year-old, student-published campus newspaper the Canyon Call at College of the Canyons.

Gregory J. Brown advises he sent the following email to COC administration expressing his concern: “Not everyone can afford a laptop for information, but have a paper that everyone can read/enjoy/learn from, and you have a power. Having worked for the L.A. Times for 15 years and my father worked there for 43 years, I feel I can confidently say we are a newspaper family. My daughter was thinking about studying journalism at COC. What now? Welding? Bring back the paper!”

Brown received an email response from Dr. Mitjl Carvalho Capet,
COC’s Assistant Superintendent & Vice President of Instruction.

Here is the text of Dr. Capet’s response: “Thank you for your communication.  Journalism is not ceasing at COC. The program is being redesigned to reflect the current work world. I too am from a newspaper family. Our family newspaper was begun in 1906 on the east coast … so I am not opposed to the profession. By redesigning the program we hope to increase student participation, the program had dwindled to single digit enrollment.”

This web site acknowledges that enrollment in the five journalism classes supporting the Canyon Call was low. However, we believe the reasons for the low enrollment go beyond a simple lack of student interest or participation. Rather, we believe there was a systematic lack of support for the Journalism program by college administration, for reasons only truly known by the administrators themselves.

Beyond this, there is no evidence that those same administrators made any type of creative, good faith effort to save the newspaper. Instead, they simply eliminated the Canyon Call without any notification to the more than 25,000 students who attend the college.

That’s just wrong.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 53