March 14, 2011
Filed under Linked Stories
From the Cal-JEC Newsletter:
Modesto journalism program axed
The Yosemite Community College District voted March 9 to eliminate the Modesto Junior College Mass Communications program as part of its cuts to remove more than $8 million from its operating budget. Along with the cuts will be the elimination of the journalism program and, in all likelihood, the 85-year-old Pirates’ Log student newspaper.
Ironically, two of the college’s media in the program were covering the meeting where the cuts were approved after nearly four hours of passionate appeals to spare the program. The campus television program was broadcasting the meeting and student reporters were Tweeting the meeting as it occurred.
With the elimination of the program and other programs, eight full-time, tenured instructors will lose their jobs. Click here for student coverage of the meeting and here for coverage from The Modesto Bee.
Commentary: A word from Chairman Rich Cameron
Journalism is still a popular subject for students, and there are a lot of journalism education activities taking place this time of year as evidence. But sad news hit journalism education this week when the Yosemite Community College District accepted the Modesto College president’s recommendation to eliminate the Mass Communications program there.
While the fate of the student newspaper officially is “undetermined,” the reality is that its survival is highly in doubt without a formal structure to support it. During the times of necessary cuts perhaps one of the most unwise cuts at a college is the student newspaper, one of the few outlets for student engagement in the budget retrenching process.
I experienced the same fate, sort of, back in the mid-1990s when the West Valley College administration recommended the elimination of journalism as a cost-cutting measure. I was more fortunate that Modesto journalism instructor Laura Paull in that I didn’t lose a job in the process. I had other skills and enough seniority that the college reclassified me as a computer applications instructor. But I am a journalism teacher, not a computer instructor, at heart and I eventually moved on. I was able to make lemonade out of lemons and went on to build an even stronger program at another community college.
The student newspaper at West Valley continues to be published … SOME semesters and not others. It is not the same voice for students and training ground for future journalists as it oncewas and it likely never will be again with its on-again, off-again status.