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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Student Newspaper Bites the Dust

posted by on September 9 at 17:06 PM

Seattle Central Community College has quietly cut its journalism program and put its student-run newspaper, the City Collegian, on hiatus.

Earlier this summer, Professor Jeb Wyman stepped down from his position as the paper’s faculty adviser after a battle with the school’s administration over the future of the paper. In June, Wyman fired off a letter to SCCC’s administration, excerpted here:

The Publications Board, chaired by Laura Mansfield, has been hostile to the Collegian all year, and this is one of two reasons for my departure. The board has remained willfully ignorant of the operation of the Collegian, the precepts of student journalism, and student press law.

By Laura’s own admission, the board was established with the intent of controlling the student press on this campus, and this mission was dutifully carried out from its first meeting. Not surprisingly, the board swiftly became a forum for outside agendas and false accusations made against the Collegian.

In a particularly galling turn, the Collegian was accused of misusing staff stipends, barred from explaining how this was grossly false, then further accused of “hiding” information.

I am unwilling to continue as adviser so long as this board and its chairperson are sanctioned by the administration.

At our last meeting, the board voted down a [10] credit-load policy that would have restricted who could participate as an editor of the Collegian. The policy…would remove about a third of the Collegian’s senior editors, degrade the students’ paper, and needlessly stifle journalism education at this school.

Despite the board’s “no” vote, Laura has made an “executive decision” to invalidate the board’s vote.

I am sad to leave the position as adviser to the Collegian, but am unable to continue under the present circumstances.

Jeb Wyman

After Wyman’s resignation, the City Collegian was left without an advisor and SCCC has put the City Collegian on hiatus.

SCCC isn’t the first local community college to lose their newspaper. Last year, North Seattle Community College also put its student paper, The Polaris, on indefinite hiatus.

It’s unclear why SCCC canceled their journalism program, but it’s not surprising considering how well things are going in our industry.

Mansfield—who is also SCCC’s spokeswoman—did not return calls for comment on the future of student journalism at SCCC.

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College papers should not be run by the school, duh. They should get free rent and electricity, and the right to put boxes or bundles around the school. Otherwise, they should be run like any other business, with advertising. "Stipends" and "credits" and "faculty advisors" are just fucked up.

Posted by yer all grownup now | September 9, 2008 5:17 PM

Cutting the journalism program? No big loss. But no campus paper sucks. Hopefully somebody is inspired to build a replacement online. If somebody from SCCC wants to talk about how to get something going, drop me a note -- jseattle at gmail.

Posted by jseattle | September 9, 2008 7:20 PM

That is so disappointing. No one seems to respect journalism, true journalism. I earned a degree in it because I love the field. To my horror, I can't believe that people don't know who Edward R Murrow was.

The infestation of blogs, gossip news sites and CNN's appallingly offensive "Citizen Journalism" (has any one heard of "Citizen Doctor" or "Citizen Lawyer?) is a sad sign of the times because everyone thinks they are journalists. They are lowering the standards of writing and deteriorating the essence on which it is based.

I will continue to write and uphold those standards and seek out those who do respect this profession.

Posted by CommonKnowledge | September 9, 2008 9:05 PM

Ah #3 is offended that journalism isn't state-regulated like medicine or law. Looks like she/he learned a lot getting that journalism degree.

Posted by jrrrl | September 9, 2008 10:46 PM

Regardless of the state of print journalism, there is still plenty of room for journalism training: reporting, cultivating sources, writing, editing, etc.

The final destination -- paper, pixels, etc. -- doesn't change the basic tools of writing and reporting.

Posted by rjh | September 10, 2008 11:48 AM

Regarding #4 comment on #3:I don't think he/she's saying that at all, but pointing out that journalism is a profession with standards and ethics, like law or medicine. Just calling oneself a journalist doesn't make you one. Journalists have responsibilities to the public that they serve, like attorneys or physicians.

What a jackass comment.

Regarding the piece on the Collegian,Wyman did the right thing, and the student body will not stand for this.

Posted by jtd | September 12, 2008 7:26 AM

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