Features Opinion — 18 September 2015

By Kalama Hines

Thank you, Ian Scotts.

Your repeated theft and disposal of the latest issue of the student-run Naked Magazine is a perfect reminder of why we are here. Your plan to censor the work of fellow Las Positas College students is confirmation of what we’re up against in our attempts to learn this craft of journalism.

Yeah, we got your letter declaring your disapproval of the “morbidly obese woman with her disgustingly gross fat hanging out everywhere.”

And, yes, we read in that distressed scribble of yours how you will be “promptly recycling” our issues you don’t like.

And you’re not alone. We’ve noticed others flip the magazine over or cover it with a nearby newspaper. But what you and others fail to realize is you only rejuvenate our passion. You verify exactly what we’re being taught and solidify our resolve to pursue truth and tell stories that need to be told.

Many misunderstand what we’re doing here. We are routinely faced with entities on this campus that disrespect the work and effort we put into this and our process of learning. We regularly deal with those who confuse mistakes from our inexperience as evil intent.

So let me be clear in this explanation: We are student journalists.

The “student” part means we aren’t very good sometimes, which we hear regularly from our teachers. We’ve won many awards — locally, regionally and nationally. But that’s because we take our lumps first and work on our weaknesses.

Like every other student, we grow.

The “journalist” part means our purpose is to inform, to seek and promote truth, to captivate and entertain our audience, to question power, to be a watchdog for students on campus, to chronicle campus life. To give a voice to those who don’t have one.

We’re taught about how our purpose often creates an antagonistic relationship. We’re told people won’t like us, some will disagree with what we’re doing, and our purpose directly contradicts the agendas of many.

Every time we are attacked, every time someone tries to censor us or smear us, every time someone reveals they don’t respect what we do, it only validates what we’re learning. It is frustrating for people to trash a product that took months of diligent work. It does stings when people treat us like villains because we are getting experience at our chosen profession, just like other students here. But we appreciate it. Your hating is helping us.

Thank you, Clarence Morgan.

Having the woman’s basketball coach refuse to speak to us teaches us how to deal with uncooperative subjects. We need to learn how to put our readers over ourselves. We need to learn how to power through the uncomfortable feeling of having a person in power be unhappy with us.

Sure, you’d think the school paper would receive help covering the school’s team, especially considering we’re the only media that cares enough to do so. Maybe our coverage of the departure of the team’s statistical leader could be deemed unnecessary.

And it is unfair to boycott student journalists who weren’t even around when the coverage you disapprove of was printed.

But we grow from your boycott nonetheless.

Every time someone refuses to talk to us, we are forced to find alternate means of getting to the truth. That is good practice for us. In the world of professional journalism, we need to be able to act concisely when confronted with situations like this.

Thank you, Mark Tarte.

Every time you question our legitimacy as a news gathering organization (albeit a student-run one) it helps us understand the constant threat felt by modern media.

Anyone who works in the field of professional journalism must develop a thick skin, because of that threat. You help us develop our thick skin.

Ok, so you think that we have failed the campus as a production under its name. You say that we are not entitled to reporting on events that you may not agree with.

This publication has been accused being an embarrassment to the college, and printing stuff that some may not agree with.

This is our aspiration.

We thank you for confirming that our hard work has bore fruit. We work hard to find stories that our campus may no know but deserve to know, and there is no better evidence of success in this than the disapproval of some. Even the journalist we strive to be like have received this same objection.

And you may not be privy to this, but many of this program’s alumni have gone on to hold professional positions. In fact, ten of the 27 students to pass through The Express newsroom since the fall of 2013 now hold professional positions in the journalism world.

So, thanks, to you and all our other detractors. Your criticism of our work and us only make us work harder in achieving our goals. You are responsible for our success

 

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Mitchell Mylius

(1) Reader Comment

  1. Nice reply to those who question what you are learning, and producing, as student journalists! I appreciated the class in which you were able to express yourself on behalf of the entire program. Hear hear!

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