Channels editors share their hopes about upcoming virtual semester

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN


When the pandemic forced much of the world online almost a year ago, the face of journalism and news reporting changed forever. The Channels went fully remote in the Fall semester, and this will be our second semester as a fully virtual newsroom. This came with many adjustments, but for the most part we’ve survived—and thrived—in this “new normal.”

Although we can no longer drop in at campus administrators’ offices demanding interviews, or sit in on meetings and events to find sources, we have managed to develop and adapt our news gathering strategies and reporting styles to bring the same quality content to the campus community.

The news did not, and will not stop because of COVID-19; the same goes for The Channels reporting staff. Here, our Spring 2021 editors share their thoughts on the upcoming semester of reporting during a pandemic.


Ryan P. Cruz, Editor-in-Chief

Taking over as editor-in-chief of City College’s student publication during the pandemic was unlike anything I have ever done. It seems that everything I learned prior to 2020 was thrown out the window, and our staff and advisers were forced to rethink the logistics behind every week’s stories. All meetings were now through Zoom, and getting ahold of sources proved to be difficult, and even a little impersonal at first. But the nature of journalism, and news, is that it does not stop. Just as we were in uncharted waters, journalists all over the world were tackling the same new obstacles, and to me this was very exciting. We were all figuring it out. In the beginning there were no expectations as to what we would be able to do. But as the semester progressed we became good at this “new normal.” We had a small staff. We all were new at our positions. but we trusted each other and soon we were just student journalists again. Pursuing stories, looking under rocks, and knocking on doors and trying to inform people about what is happening. This semester will be my last with The Channels and I plan to make the best of it, pandemic or not. I will push myself and our staff to continue to improve and hold ourselves up to our high standard of student journalism, and with our team I am confident that we will perform.


Jacob Frank, News Editor

It’s wild to think this is the second semester that will be almost completely online due to a worldwide pandemic. I have to admit, it’s getting a little tedious: waking up, making tea, then heading straight to my computer for an undetermined amount of time. Either way, this spring is a time where I get to advance my educational goals while improving my skills as a writer and learner. I’ve been working on strategies to keep myself on track. I tend to go off the rails when I get too stressed. It’s as simple as making a checklist and a schedule along with getting some good sleep. My hopes are that I can make it to May while keeping that up. As for The Channels, we only get better with time and hard work, so I’m looking forward to this new semester with my returning colleagues and our large staff.


August Lawrence, Opinion Editor

This will be the second mostly virtual semester that I’ll be holding an editor spot on the paper. As Opinion Editor it’s my duty to offer an informed and educated opinion for The Channels, and it’s my intent to provide this absolutely unbiased and with the utmost integrity. While returning student editors do have some experience under our belts when it comes to reporting in a remote world, there is no doubt we will all run into unforeseen obstacles and roadblocks. I look forward to confronting these and developing new methods as a news gatherer. The physical culture at City College is basically nonexistent, but I will do my darned best to investigate, report and publish only the creme-de-la-creme of news and stories this semester as an Opinion Editor on The Channels. 


Cassandra Wilkins, Opinion Editor

Journalism is the vehicle I use to bring awareness to social issues and to be the voice for somebody in order to make a difference, and ensure equal rights for every citizen. This will be my final semester with The Channels at City College. I want my writing to impact someone’s daily life positively when they read my stories. During the remainder of my time with The Channels, my goal as an Opinion Editor is to make my school and community a better place through my reporting and storytelling. The Channels gives me the opportunity to write stories on topics that interest and matter to me within the community. Living through the pandemic has not been easy for any of us, but it has nowhere near discouraged my passion for storytelling and reporting. During this time I utilize my resources for efficiency, and communicate with my sources while following county safety guidelines. After my time with The Channels at City College I hope to transfer to a four-year university to continue my journalism studies with an emphasis in broadcasting.



Alloy Zarate, Features Editor

Yes, reporting during the pandemic is hard. But last semester, we already proved that it’s possible. Doing journalism will always be hard, regardless of the current health crisis. I’ve always been a little unsure about journalism being my lifelong passion. I don’t have a clear answer yet but seeing everything that happened in the world this year made me really excited to be a journalist right now. I don’t know what to expect this semester but I hope that it will go a bit more smoothly now that we all have some experience. Like Desiree, I feed off the passion of my fellow editors on The Channels. We all come from different backgrounds and have different goals, but right now we are pouring our hearts into making The Channels great. My personal goals for the features section are the same as last semester. I want to continue to shed light on anyone who’s making an impact on City College right now. Especially people who don’t always get to have their stories heard.


Rodrigo Hernandez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Although we are still continuing to report and work from home, I feel that we have not only adapted to our circumstances but have been able to thrive in them. Meeting virtually may have its technical difficulties, but it has allowed us to look at what is happening not just at City College, but in the community as well. For example, our “Voices” video series has been filming at different locations in Santa Barbara, when compared to past semesters where we were only able to film on campus. This makes for a broader audience than we normally would not be able to hear from. Doing the “Voices” videos during the pandemic captures what Santa Barbara is like during this moment in time, which is something that we will only experience once in our lifetime, hopefully. Being the Arts & Entertainment editor, I will be covering events and pieces of media that have gone to streaming platforms or Zoom meetings. Normally, one would go to the Garvin Theatre for a live performance, or to the Atkinson Gallery to view a new installation. As different as things may seem, I am grateful for being in the position to report during this bizarre time in human history.

Desiree Erdmann, Photo Editor

Last semester made me rethink a lot of things in life, including a career in photojournalism. In this new world of so much uncertainty and day by day changes it makes envisioning a life in a job with so much flexibility hard. However, as cliche as it is to say, coming back as Photo Editor has made me re-realize how much I love photography and photojournalism. When I was asked to come back as an editor this semester the first thing I thought of when deciding was my fellow editors. In all honesty their passion and desire to be in our three-hour zoom calls, to interview over the phone, and the patience they have for me with the photos delaying stories (due to many reasons I can’t even start to explain) is wholeheartedly inspiring and refuels my wanting to also be here. During a time where it is so easy to lose yourself with the chaos of the world, I am happy and excited to have The Channels in my life once again. This is a newsroom that is meant for learning experiences and growth that you would not get anywhere else, and I mean that. This semester is not going to be any easier than the last but I know with my fellow editors by my side and me at theirs, we are going to have some amazing stories that get published, and will leave in May happy with what we did.