Commentary by Dr. Evan C. Wirig
In the words of Jerry Garcia, “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been”. When 3 of the 5 full-time faculty retired 2-years ago, the responsibility of teaching and advising the newspaper and the radio station fell on my shoulders. I’ve been teaching and advising the radio program here at Grossmont since I was hired in 1997. Having years of broadcasting experience in radio and TV, specifically as a news director, editor and producer, the powers that be thought it would be just a stone’s throw away to teach newspaper production.
I have never worked in the print industry, and as any journalist will tell you, the differences of writing for space in the inverted pyramid style for print, is vastly different than writing for time in the keyhole style for broadcast. Needless to say, I needed help. Fortunately, help came in many different ways.
After sending an S.O.S. to my contacts in the Broadcast Education Association, many of them told me to join the College Media Association. The CMA runs a “boot camp” for new faculty and advisors for various student media. I asked for some travel money from our VPAA and Dean Steve Baker and they generously provided me the opportunity to go to the boot camp. So, Thanks go to several of my BEA Colleagues, Dean Steve Baker, former VPAA Blanchard, President Cooke, Chancellor Miles and the GCCCD Board for permitting to attend the boot camp!
I learned quite a bit at the Poynter Institute during the 4-day boot camp. While I was still a bit tentative about teaching newspaper production, getting out the paper on a monthly basis and dealing with advertisers, I had plenty of resources from across the country to help me. So Thanks go to CMA!
Another issue was making sure the paper and stories also got published on our WordPress site. The previous advisor used his own monies to put The Summit on-line. Vice President Tim Flood did an amazing amount of leg work, contacting and collaborating with BlueHost and WordPress, and the college was able to transfer the site to the College and Summit. So, a BIG Thank-You to the work of VP Tim Flood!
Another issue was learning the Adobe software necessary to produce the paper. I am skilled in many different media programs, but I had never used Adobe InDesign. I needed more training. Fortunately, The CTE Dean and her Administrative Assistant came to my rescue. We were able to subscribe to Lynda.com and I was able to get the on-line training I needed to learn the basics of InDesign. So Thank You’s go to Dean Christina Tafoya, and Anita Martinez.
Collaboration is a key element to a successful organization. President Cooke wanted the Director of College and Community Relations to work with the Summit. We had the pleasure of working with the former Advisor of the Summit, Don Harrison, who took on the role of Community Relations Director for a time, and now we work with Lorena Ruggero. Our connections between the two areas have been very beneficial. So, Thanks go to President Cooke, Don Harrison and Lorena Ruggero. Also, thanks go to the many different faculty, administrators and staff who willingly gave their time to be interviewed by the Summit staff.
Still, what is student media without students? I must say that for the most part, the students enrolled in the student media areas are some of the most dedicated and goal oriented students at any college or university. I was fortunate to have some stellar and dedicated people serving in the roles of student editors. Both John Weber and Sheridan Martinez displayed great leadership in their non-compensated peer-to-peer roles as Student Editor-in-Chief. They helped lead and manage the student staff and helped in getting a good product out to the newsstands as well as on-line. So a BIG Thank-You to all the students who participated in MCOM 132 ABCD, and especially to John and Sheridan.
Next semester, MCOM’s new Journalism Full-Time Faculty member will take over the newspaper. I am extremely excited to see where the paper will go and how it will evolve in the digital climate. I will return to my “normal” teaching duties of audio/video/mass media next semester as well as serve as the Chair of MCOM.
I learned quite a bit as the Advisor for the Summit. I made some great professional and academic contacts, contacts with the State Chancellor’s office, advertising representatives and various regional emergency personnel. Sure there are some things I could’ve done differently, but despite the apprehensions I had 2-years ago about of teaching the class and advising the paper, I would say I would not have missed it for the world.
Thanks to our readers for all their support and be sure to participate by reading the Summit and listening to Griffin Radio!