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Reporter has mixed emotions as Trail publishes final issue

Chelsea Blake

Chelsea Blake

Vicki Olson, Reporter and Photographer, Fall 2016

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       I have been fortunate to have experienced even one semester on the staff of the Trail. On the other hand, I have also been extremely unfortunate to have had only one semester to be on the staff. As a photography major in my last year of study having the opportunity to gain even a small amount of photo-journalism experience is vital to my future job opportunities. But one semester is not enough and the loss of the journalism program is severely impacting the photo department for anyone even slightly interested in a career in photojournalism.

       Knowing how to photograph sports, news personalities and events is an entirely different kind of education than that which one gains in the studio. In addition, the skill of writing a good story with grammatically correct English and spelling is one which comes easier with practice in a new medium with new writing conventions. The education never ends for the eternal student, but learning these skills at NWC has come to an extremely untimely end for any photo student interested in gaining this knowledge and experience.

        For over twenty years I taught at NWC as an adjunct faculty member in the business department teaching travel and tourism classes, in the social science department while instructing the geography of travel course and in the foreign language area teaching German. I have taken classes in a variety of other departments including equine studies. Whatever I did, I always picked up a copy of the Trail to find out what the major concerns were of the younger students here and to keep abreast of the college’s current events. As a reader of the paper for years, I am also saddened to know that this link that ties the entire campus together in addition to providing such valuable experiences to its student staff will no longer be here. What kind of

college is it that silences its media under the guise of cutting costs?

      After reading the minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings that led up to the final vote to cut this program last May and back issues of The Trail, I not only blame certain members of the administration who have taken personal aim at the paper and its faculty advisor but also the Board of Trustees. As elected officials representing your various communities, I know you are supposed to make informed decisions on a wide range of issues. The key word here is “informed”. I take great issue with the lack of correct information provided you, and with the unwillingness of the four of you who voted to ax the program to get more information before you agreed to go along with our college president in her recommendation to cut out both media programs. None of you interviewed Rob Breeding, the faculty advisor for the paper. None of you visited the classroom on press nights as the crowd of students prepared a new paper for press. None of you spoke with any of the students about their program of studies and their work on the paper. Shame on you. You failed to do your job when you voted against Trustee Fees asking for a two-week extension so that you could all study the issue further. It would only have taken one of you to turn the tide. Only one.

        I do thank Trustees Fees, Danko and Housel for your support and the questions you raised about the importance of a student run free press on campus. Thanks for your open and questioning minds. To the rest of you, I say “Shame on you” again. There were ways to make cuts and save the paper, but you failed to try. You failed to get all the correct facts before you hastily voted.

       Losing the media programs has cut a leg off the education of many students who needed this writing and production experience. Some students have been forced to transfer to other colleges prematurely and the college has failed to provide the opportunity to future students who have chosen to attend other institutions. There are ways you could have saved this paper if you had cared enough to be informed.

To all current paper staff members and Rob Breeding I can only say ‘thanks’ for the experience. I have learned a lot from all of you and wish we had more time together. Thanks for the memories and the experience! It is never too late to learn and appreciate a new skill!

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The student news site of Northwest College
Reporter has mixed emotions as Trail publishes final issue