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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