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Former students in the news

June 13, 2006

Robert ScobleI don’t know how many times over the last 30 years a student has told me, “I’m going to be the most famous student you’ll ever have, just wait and see.” But most students who go on to journalism careers don’t make news, they cover it. As I was looking at USA Today online this evening I ran across the name of a former West Valley College student I’ve always been extremely proud of. He’s in the news because he is a well-known blogger who is leaving Microsoft and going to a startup video blogging company.

Robert, or rather, The Scobleizer, was a real go-getter on the Norseman newspaper. Among many great things he did there was to approach Apple’s Steve Wozniack, who was taking a Spanish class next door to the Norseman newsroom, and ask him to donate some computers to the journalism program. Woz did. Robert and I even tried a business venture together a few years later.

Courtney MacavintaAnother former student from West Valley College who has gone on to good things was one of the youngest, but one of the brightest students I ever had: Courtney Macavinta. I still talk about her in my journalism classes as someone who embraced online journalism at the right time and capitalized on it. These days she’s an author of a great book aimed at young girls, Respect: A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect & Dealing When Your Line Is Crossed. Courtney was perhaps the youngest student editor I had and she had the misfortune to be editor at a time when West Valley was getting ready to close down the journalism program. She put together a team that shamed the college’s board of trustees with the quality product it put out while it was staying the course on its decision, something it really should have reconsidered.

I’ve had many other great and memorable students over the years. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of their lives.

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