Changes in store for journalism program for upcoming semester

Celia Jimenez

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When you hear City Times you’ll normally associate the newspaper with Roman Koenig. He has been in charge of City Times for 10 years but that’s about to change.

Next semester, City Times and the Digital Journalism program will restructure and diversify and will have four adjunct professors instead of one adjunct and one faculty. The team will include photojournalist Tara Pixley, news writer and newscaster Jerry McCormick and currents professors Aida Garcia and Koenig.

“I’m excited about what everybody else has to bring,” City Times staff member Destiny Ortiz said. She is excited about what else she will learn next semester.

Koenig was hired at City College part-time in 2003 to rebuild the journalism program and bring back the award-winning newspaper from what he called “a photocopy newsletter” from the 1990s and early 2000s to the formal college news publication it is today.

Koenig said that he and Communications Chair Laura Castañeda worked to create this journalistic approach with the objective that students from the program and from radio, television and film could explore other areas of communications at City College “to have a more holistic approach to their education.”

Castañeda also indicated this change was made following changes in the industry’s current paths such as more online news content and inclusion of videos, footage and photo galleries.

The Digital Journalism program is becoming stronger on campus after an unwieldy beginning because students and counselors were unaware of the program’s name change from Journalism to Digital Journalism, which resulted in students being sent to other colleges due to the confusion.

Now, the program is well established on campus and is a unique program in the distric. Students are showing more interest in studying Digital Journalism at City College.

City Times and Legend magazine will have two advisers this spring instead of one, and for the first time, a photojournalism class will be offered and the students from it will become staff photographers for City Times and Legend magazine.

“I think the changes are good. Having veteran journalists like Tara, Jerry and Aida are going to be beneficial to both students and the publication,” former City Times and Legend magazine Editor-in-Chief Angelica Wallingford said. She added that having two advisers will divide the workload and make both publications content and design stronger.

“You’ll have the opportunity to go to two people. It’s like having two sets of parents instead of a single parent home,” Castañeda said. “I think students should feel be very fortunate they will have the co-advisors.”

She highlighted that students will have guidance from more than one person and since the advisers have different backgrounds and strengths, students will gain broader reporting education.

Koenig is satisfied with all the achievements both publications have had since he started advising the paper in 2003 and the magazine in 2013, but he thinks there are still areas in which both publications need to develop.

“We need to improve our focus on digital technology and digital concepts. We don’t have the variety of instructors who can bring in more of that experience. Now we’re going to have that,” Koenig said. He emphasized that having more instructors in the program will enrich student learning; therefore, City Times and Legend magazine content will benefit and develop as well.

The upcoming advisers and Garcia will face two challenges.

The first is the lack of a real newsroom. Since fall 2014, City Times and Legend magazine are in a swing space and they will continue to be at the Business Technology (BT) building for at least another two years before moving into their new home. This will happen once the new A building is finished and Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) moves out of the L building.

The second one is keeping up the history of success that Koenig leaves behind. This year the newspaper won the national Newspaper Pacemaker award, a Newspaper General Excellence award from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges Southern California and, in conjunction with the magazine, won 14 San Diego Press Club awards.

If you are interested in contributing with City Times and Legend magazine check City College online schedule. Newspaper classes start with DJRN 210 Reporting and Editing and Legend magazine is DJRN 220 Specialty Publications.