CSM and Cañada needs student-run media


Kassidy Corbin

Community college students should take advantage of multimedia platforms and engage in citizen journalism.

Student journalists aren’t perfect, yet we strive to do our best to be advocates for our people. But let me get things straight: our small yet mighty staff cannot cover every story inside and outside our college districts.

Years ago, the College of San Mateo and Cañada College had their own student newspapers: “The San Matean” and “The Long Valley Times.” Their production however ceased, and this puts pressure on us as we make attempts to be inclusive and cover issues on our sister campuses as the last student-run newspaper in our college district.

This is not a lost cause. You could be a campus watchdog and report on your college’s student affairs.

In spring 2021, I wrote an article on higher education’s role in honing students to become media and information literate. I wrote that student media is vital as some places are categorized to be news deserts and their news outlet might potentially be student-run media. Our college district doesn’t have to be a news desert.

The media divergence has made it possible for almost everyone to write, blog, upload pictures – some of the major components of what a citizen journalist does. CSM and Cañada students could be citizen journalists to produce their own content and reestablish student-run media.

I encourage my fellow SMCCCD students to step up to the challenge and be the eyes and ears of their campus. Student-centered journalism applies to everyone because you would be unearthing issues relevant to you and the people around you: classmates, schoolmates, faculty, staff and the administration. Change always starts with one person speaking out their mind and inspiring people to be part of the change by defying or supporting causes.

Student reporting will always be as valuable as mainstream reporting. The campus is a microcosm of governance. Like many democratic countries, there should be a fourth estate that calls out campus administrations if they are providing inadequate support to their communities.

Large media outlets do not have access to everything that happens on the campus, but you do. You can break the news that will be picked out by local dailies or community papers. It is an awesome accomplishment to know your reporting yielded positive results and was part of the change you wanted to see.

You don’t need a journalism degree to start writing news. It would not be easy to start a student-run publication from scratch, but if everyone’s in sync and have similar goals in mind, this is not an impossible dream. The budget might be limited, but there are resources available like platforms that allow creating websites for free.

If writing is not your niche, reporting could be in the form of multimedia like podcasts, documentaries, and films. Contemporary journalism no longer relies heavily on print and is made more accessible and responsive through online sites. CSM’s digital media department and Cañada’s digital art and animation department could take advantage of that. Web design, advertising and audio-visual pieces coincide with writing, they are everywhere in online media.

The tools and resources are now made available for those who want to serve their community both as citizen and campus journalists. Now, break the news and the rest of the community will follow.