M.C. Needs a Journalism Program

by Russ Emal

Bruce Anderson, The Editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, gave me credit in his paper for giving The Eagle its "wings". My fledgling attempt at editing might be moving the paper forward but much of the success should go to pure luck. Just chance! High schools all around the county have journalism programs taught and administered by the school and you would be hard pressed to find many two or four year colleges anywhere that does not educate "would-be" writers by utilizing a journalism program. But, here at Mendocino College, other then supplying the money to print the paper, the school plays no real part in producing it. When I say that The Eagle exists only due to luck, don't believe that many hours of work has not been given to produce it. Of course that has happened. Effort has been put forth by many advisors, editors and their staffs as well as a few of the school's administrators who have cared enough to keep The Eagle aloft. But the paper still is alive because it has been lucky. Lucky to have people show up at the right time to take over or fill in when needed. Little of this effort has been planned by the school.

At the school, we teach a class in Pagemaker, the application program that organizes The Eagle, but we don't require any student in that class to really use their instruction do produce anything. You might "liken" that style of education to teaching a welder what the welding rod is made of, but never putting a torch in his hand.

Here at Mendo, in our English classes, we teach the students how to write using many writing styles. We teach them how to interview and how to write articles or features. We have the writer "imagine" that the story could go into a newspaper. But, require no participation in The Eagle, our school's newspaper.

As known by most everyone, we now have a new arts building on campus. Among other things the building contains a small but growing graphics program being taught there. But, again, while students do produce work, it seldom finds its way to The Eagle.

You really can't say that we at Mendocino College don't have the money to teach a Journalism Program. We already have all of the necessary parts to have one. What we do not have is the vision and the focus to make one happen.

Over in Anderson Valley, at their high school (one of the smallest in the county), they are in the developmental stages of putting together an excellent Photo/Journalism Program. They will be combining their already existing Photography, Newspaper and Yearbook classes into this new combined school administered educational program. Patti DeFaveri (Computers), Kim Cambell (English) and Karen Taussig (Photography), current teachers at the school, are designing and will teach the new Photo Journalism classes next year. The teachers expect about fifty students to participate in the new classes. It is felt that since there is a lot of enthusiasm for the individual classes offered now, the combined program will both advance the cause of education and it will be one of the most popular programs on campus. As some of those students graduate from Anderson Valley High School and plan to continue their education in journalism, what will Mendocino College have to offer them?

For today Bruce, The Eagle may be flying but, that is only due to luck. We are lucky that I'm interested in the newspaper. Fortunate that the advisors give their input and it is only because of chance that, without financial help from the school, advertising has been sold that supplies the money to buy the equipment to produce The Eagle.

As the eyes and mind of a human were placed at the top of the body, the vision and thinking of this human endeavor, Mendocino College, must also reside at its top of its body. It must come from the administrative level. But mostly, for now, The Eagle is successful because of luck. Not because of me and not due to the schools administrative direction.

Russ Emal, Editor

Copyright Mendocino College Eagle 1995
Permission granted to excerpt or use this article if source is cited

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Last Update: 7/23/96