City Times EIC finds a new outlook amid near-constant change

Pineda wrapped up her fourth and final semester with the City Times on Dec. 14

Diangela Veras and Vicky Pineda

Vicky Pineda (right) poses with Diangela Veras weeks before the pandemic in a promotional photo. City College photo

Will Mauriz, Contributor

Who would have guessed, in the second week of March 2020, a worldwide pandemic could have shut down the San Diego City College’s City Times newsroom for nearly the entire year and at the same time unravel what education would look like in the country.

This was a reality for Vicky Pineda, editor-in-chief of the award-winning student-produced newspaper and website.

Vicky Pineda
Vicky Pineda took home an award from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges conference at Can State Fullerton in October 2019. City Times file photo

Pineda was acclimated to being in City Times meetings four times a week and using the resources of City’s newest student newsroom, which had only opened at the start of the fall 2019 term.

But in the past nine months, Pineda had a direct family member sick with COVID-19, lost employment, regained employment, lost access to a newsroom, moved, moved again, and now looking to transfer to a four-year university.

“I am in the process of transferring to Cal State Fullerton,” said Pineda, who had applied to Cal State Fullerton to continue studying journalism next fall. “This has been a blessing in disguise.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pineda was working as a full-time manager in the food industry and a full-time student.

But as her situation changed, so did her outlook.

“Learn to use what you have at home,” she said. “You are now not the only one.”

Vicky Pineda
Vicky Pineda was part of the team that covered events like the Elizabeth Warren rally in February. Vicky Pineda photo

From student journalists to professional journalists, access to resources and people has been compromised. That has led Pineda and her team to become more resourceful.

Pineda adapted to not having the school environment for focusing on school work. She now calls her living room her best workroom and avoids distractions such as her cat.

The boredom of being constrained at home has posed its own challenges, but Pineda has taken on new challenges like podcasting. She worked in the early morning and did her school work in the evening, coordinating with editors and staff to get stories prepared for release.

Pineda, who completed her fourth and final semester with City Times in the fall, said one of the biggest challenges for her and the City Times team is getting the voice of the student. Their goal as a student newspaper is to convey the student voice for San Diego City.

 It has been more difficult to get one-on-one communication from the student population as everyone is dispersed and away from campus.

But it is now commonplace to see the news reporters and journalists at home broadcasting as opposed to the news station.

The same can be said for the student journalists at City College, and not just the City Times. Newscene, the Emmy-winning student TV news broadcast, has broadcast remotely since March and SDS Radio will return this spring for the first time since the pandemic started to produce remote shows as well. 

Pineda said she has had to learn new skills she can put on her resume and she faced unprecedented issues and managed to become more versatile.

“You got to make the best at out anything,” she said.

Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions has changed how Pineda interacts as a journalist, family member and student. But in the end, she keeps striving to be better at all those. 

Will Mauriz was a student in the DJRN 200, Newswriting for Multimedia, during the fall 2020 semester.