Student Speaks Out!

First impressions of the newspaper production class

By April Pack

At first I didn't really know what to expect when I heard about the new journalism classes. However, I was eager to write and very willing to work with Lillian Brown and was interested to see how she would run the class.
The administration told the students from the beginning that this would be a student run newspaper. Even though it had already been this way, I was happy to see that they were going to carry this out.
The class was going really well until the words, "This is not a democracy" came out of Lillian Brown's mouth. To me, this was immediately threatening. How can this be a student run newspaper when the students do not have a voice in the decision of who does what in the production of the paper? This concerns me about the future of the newspaper; I worry that the newspaper will be consumed by the administration and that the students will eventually be pushed out, into the background. I think it is unfair to those of us who took the class and were expecting a democratic process. After all, it is the students' newspaper; doesn't this mean that we should have a voice? Even today, we sat in the Eagle office and Lillian told us that if we do not agree with her, "You know where the door is." To me, this is a very negative attitude. First of all, when working with a newspaper, you want many people to get involved. You don't want to encourage people to leave, especially since it is a classroom situation. Each of us came here on our own will. If we come to class every day and do our work, you can't kick us out for disagreeing. Would a history teacher kick a student out just because that student didn't agree with him or her? I don't think so! Why should it be any different because the class deals with producing a newspaper?
I get the impression that Lillian Brown is on the defensive with us as students. She automatically assumes we are going to be upset with the curriculum because it is so different from the past. However, it is just the opposite. We have been trying to work with her, but she constantly stresses the point that she is the instructor and has the final say in everything. That's fine, but she doesn't need to express this every day. This is definitely going to turn students off.
I also have concerns about the process used to pick the editor. The students had no say on who this person would be. Lillian selected someone who had done high school editing for the sports page. Another student obviously deserved the position more. He dedicated his life to the Eagle as editor for two complete issues and is the only person who knows what's going on and how to work the equipment. However, he was not awarded the position and it's obvious that the administration was biased against him because his father wrote for the Eagle when the school was in the middle of the Susan Bell controversy. The administration did not like the stance that the Eagle had chosen on this matter.
The web page is another story that I could go on about forever. First of all, I think that our web page should be linked back to the college. It has been linked in the past; why not now? You'd think that the administration would be more excited to have it linked now because it would be part of a curriculum, something they said they wanted. I'm not saying it has to be part of the curriculum, but it should be a part of what we do at the Eagle. We've already put so much work into it. Why quit now? In addition, we wouldn't have to use class time because we have students who are willing to work on our web site on their own.
So my question is: What is the big problem? I'll tell you what it is. It's just another way for the administration to keep control of the Eagle. Now that they have a hold of it, they are not going to let it out of their grip.

For more student opinions, return to OPIONIONS

Return to Index for this issue.

Return to Eagle Home Page

Add your own comments about the College and the EAGLE


Webmeister: Mike Oliveria
Email: Mendocino College Eagle
Last Update: 13/8/98