NorCal Editors’ Round table

By Bhavisha Patel
Student Vice President – NorCal 

About 18 community college editors gathered on Friday at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento to discuss the common issues they face. Two editors came from as far away as the College of the Sequoias.

The editors brainstormed a list of the six most common issues they face on their staff.

Among the list were deadlines not being met, advisers being too pushy, and lack of commitment. The students broke into groups of three to talk about their experiences with these issues, and then came up with solutions to them.

After about 30 minutes, the students met as an entire group to talk about solutions to these challenges. One school, American River, said they write up contracts of expectations for the adviser and for students, so that the expectations are made clear, and students know what they’re getting in to.

Editors also agreed that knowing each member of the staff is a sign of respect.
They then agreed to quiz their staffs on how well they know each other.

Students then had a lengthy discussion about how involved the advisers should be. Each editor agreed that advisers should be there to advise, nothing else. Students spoke about their experiences with pushy advisers, and it was agreed that advisers should NEVER write or edit stories.

After lunch, the students broke into groups by title (section editors, photo editors, editors in chief) and brainstormed the characteristics that make a good editor. After that, they listed qualities that make a good staff member.

These lists included:

  • willing to help
  • approachable
  • responsible
  • committed
  • understanding
  • dependable
  • ethical

The students soon figured out that editors and staff members need the same qualities, they just utilize them differently.

After that, the students talked about online media and how each school is using online tools (slideshows, video, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). Each school was on the same level, in terms of which tools they used.

Finally, the students then named one thing about them (in the role of an editor) that they’d like to improve before the state conference, and how they were going to go about making those changes.

Some students said they weren’t friendly enough, some said they were too friendly, and others said they need to donate more time and effort to the newsroom. Each student vowed to begin the process of making those changes on the following Monday.

JACC NorCal Student President Bhavisha Patel organized and facilitated the day’s events, and The Connection’s adviser, Rubina Gulati, supervised the event.


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