College journalism program will adapt to changing consumer
habits and new technology
By Brett Rowland
Gilroy – The Gavilan Community College newspaper has always had a dual purpose: to inform the college community and teach students the basics of journalism. But the pages of the Rambler may soon be changing.
Kimberly Smith, a former print journalist who has served as the newspaper’s adviser for six years, will step aside to teach other classes at Gavilan to allow colleague and veteran KTVU television journalist Diane Guerrazzi to take over the Rambler’s reigns.
Guerrazzi, who will be the newspaper’s adviser next semester, is hoping to combine all of Gavilan’s media outlets into a single entity.
Fusing print, online and television news won’t be an easy task and it won’t happen all at once, but Guerrazzi believes it’s necessary to keep up with the changing face of journalism in the 21st century.
“I think that’s the way it’s going anyway,” she said. “It’s important that someone can do everything. You’re doing (the students) a favor by exposing them to all the different facets of journalism.”
Exactly how the college’s different media outlets will be combined has not yet been decided, but discussions among faculty members have already started, Smith said.
The 11 students on the Rambler staff are looking forward to the changes, but in the meantime they will continue to focus on their main task: publishing a quality student newspaper, co-editors Kimberly Adams and Melissa Alatorre said Wednesday.
The four-page newspaper is published bi-monthly and distributed at the college’s four campuses.
For Adams and Alatorre, publishing the Rambler is a learning experience.
“When we started we had a really small staff and just wanted to get the paper out,” Alatorre said. “Now we’re just trying to make it better.”
Many on the newspaper’s staff have had little if any formal journalism training, but working on the paper gives students many unique experiences, Smith said.
Smith advises for the paper and helps the students with some of the basic tenets of the craft, but they do most of the work on their own. Smith takes a “hands-off” approach when it comes to the paper’s content, she said.
“It’s painful when students make decisions that I wouldn’t have made,” Smith said. “But, in a way, those are some of the greatest teachable moments.”
Instead of gleaning information from a textbook, students working on the Rambler must learn from producing a newspaper.
“Project-based learning is so much richer in many ways,” Smith said. “These students are writing to the world.”