Editorial: We will not be silenced
For 55 years The Channels has printed a weekly newspaper providing the service of informing students and faculty.
For students, The Channels was a journalism lab where we learned to meet hard, print-related deadlines. Editors worked tirelessly to select the most eye-catching and important stories for the front page and to encourage our peers to pick up the paper.
Those skills, along with others, are at risk of extinction now that The Channels is forced to publish online-only, indefinitely. This was not a choice we made, simply a necessary adjustment to the times.
Starting in August, our full-time lab teaching assistant, Palmer Gibbs, resigned from the college to attend grad-school at Georgetown University. Her primary duty was to coordinate newspaper production and assist The Channels staff with journalism-related questions. Because of budget cuts her position was not filled; instead we received a part-time administrative assistant to help keep the office organized.
We are grateful for the extra help. However our print production runs on a tight schedule, and we require a staff member who possesses a journalism pedigree.
On top of that, our printer, Western Web Printing has gone out of business. Since this is a contract run through the college, it has gone out to bid. As we looked into September and the rest of the fall Patricia Stark and The Channels editorial board decided that print papers were simply not an option.
What is most confusing to the staff at The Channels is the mixed-message that the college sends. Recently City College has actively made an effort to encourage greater numbers of international enrollment to increase revenue. Over the past two years, our staff has consistently been 30 percent international students. Our current editorial board is 75 percent out-of-state and international students. Some of us have invested as much as $20,000 in our journalism education at City College. People come to Santa Barbara for programs like The Channels.
The most demoralizing part about cutting our print paper is that we are doing a disservice to the students on campus. We have moved a step away from delivering accessible information to the student body. Our peers are now required to be more technical and less physical when it comes to reading about their school. Gone are the days where students would pick up a copy of The Channels while eating lunch on campus.
Now, reading campus news will have to be a deliberate effort. We will be forced to use various forms of social media to simply inform the college of our existence.
Journalists are romantics; we believe in the weight of the paper and the feeling of ink on our fingertips. We believe in providing people with the information they need to know because it’s the right thing to do and without a print paper, The Channels risks losing its most important and ever-changing readership.
As a staff, we would find it easy to push out a mediocre online issue. This however, is not what we’ve decided to do.
With a strong editorial board, a bright new staff, the leadership of our adviser we feel that this will be one of the strongest semesters of The Channels this college has seen.
So instead of picking up your print copy of the paper on campus, visit our website daily. We plan on having a steady stream of stories to report.
If you ask a room of journalism students why they chose their major, they will tell you that they want to be heard and make a difference. Please don’t silence us.
We may be down for the moment, but we are surely not out.