By: M.L. Stein
Directors of the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) recently were urged to heighten the organization’s support for high-school and community-college journalism programs, which reportedly are in increasing danger of elimination.
The plea came from William Johnson, northern California president of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges and a journalism instructor and campus newspaper adviser at Chabot College in Hayward.
Johnson acknowledged CNPA’s past help to journalism education through its foundation but urged publishers to do even more, saying that many junior-college journalism offerings are facing “program review procedures.
“In somewhat draconian fashion,” he explained, “college administrators are looking for any means to reduce programs and eliminate classes. In some cases, the cost of publishing a weekly campus newspaper costs more than, say, a history student sitting in a lecture class of 50 . . . .
“Colleges often have no way to quantify the benefits of a campus paper, either to the student body or the surrounding community.”
Johnson, who represents 60 community-college journalism programs
in California and Arizona, called on “enlightened publishers” throughout the United States to step up efforts to offset such cuts, or, he said, “the student talent pool in journalism will dry up.”
Publishers, Johnson suggested, can help save journalism programs by doing the following:
? Speaking to community college governing boards about the importance of student journalism.
? Contacting high-school and college journalism teachers to ascertain the strength of their programs.
? Encouraging their editorial staffs to speak at regional and state journalism conventions and giving them release time to judge student writing and photo competitions.
? Donating used equipment to schools and training students in software programs.
? Hiring students as stringers or information-gatherers for special events, such as election nights.
? Sponsoring special summer “boot camps” for students and faculty, to work on professional standards and discuss the relationship of journalism education to entry-level jobs.
Moreover, Johnson went on, if publishers are serious about creating multicultural staffs, California colleges, with their varied student bodies, offer the best sources for recruitment of minority hires.