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Students Start Blog to Save Newspaper

September 24, 2009

There is a new trend afoot in the student press: the engagement of new media not only for producing quality journalism but for speaking out in protest against those attempting to subvert their wishes or, worse yet, shut them down.

Emerald staffers at the University of Oregon started a blog during their high-profile newspaper strike last spring.  Michigan State students launched a blog over the summer reacting to drama in the university’s journalism school.  Penn State Daily Collegian staffers and alums also recently turned to blogs, Facebook, and other new media platforms to successfully save their temporarily-ousted faculty adviser.  More examples abound.

Student journalists’ latest netwar is being waged within the “rolling, tree-dotted hills” of Santa Clarita, California.  The battle is over the fate of The Canyon Call, the student newspaper at the College of the Canyons, and the direction of the journalism program from which it has long been sprung.

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“Save the Canyon Call” is a recently-launched blog on a mission.  It is helping supporters fight COC administrative decisions that have led to the termination of the Canyon Call in print and the expansion of a media entertainment arts academic program that would basically swallow the old journalism program whole.  As a new report indicates, the chances for the Call‘s survival appear bleak.  (The current student media product is an online-only newspaper called Cougar News.)

But the online fight continues, with the blog acting as a virtual ground zero in the Call to arms.  It sports an online petition, contact information for university bigwigs (beneath a note urging supporters to speak their minds to them), a running total of days in which the Call has been silent, and occasional advice and encouragement from area journalism educators and former Call staffers.

My favorite sentiment, written by a campus newspaper adviser at Humboldt State University: “When you balance the cost of a college newspaper against the service it provides the school, students and community, it is a bargain.”

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