Archive for the ‘Journalism education’ Category


School’s out

June 1, 2017
My first day of school

My first day of school

A few months shy of 60 years ago I stated kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary School in Reedley, California. I’ve been “in school” ever since. After today, school is finally out for good.

Today I retire from teaching.

From Lincoln I moved on to primary school at St. La Salle School and from there to Reedley High School. After earning my associate degree in journalism from Reedley College and spending one quarter at California State University Los Angeles I transferred over to Fresno State College (now officially California State University, Fresno) to earn my bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in mass communication.

By that time I was already on my second college teaching job. I started as a part-time journalism teacher at Reedley College and by then was teaching part time at Merced College. My first full-time teaching job came in 1980 at West Valley College in Saratoga, California. In 1997 I moved to Cerritos College. Twenty-plus years later I am retiring.



Intercollegiate partnerships

February 26, 2017
It has been quite a while since I posted anything to my Rich’s Musings blog and I really should spend more time here. I seem instead to do my blogging on Facebook.
What got me thinking about this is that I have spent much of the last week laying groundwork for a major program review of the Cerritos Mass Communications program that is due next year at this time. This is something we have to do every six years, but I won’t be around at the college next year at this time, so I have been trying to help my colleagues out by moving us along the path as much as possible this far out so they will be ready for it.
Anyway, it has gotten me thinking about what I have accomplished as a journalism teacher and what I wish I had accomplished or might continue to work on after retirement
Something that I think is lacking from high school, community college and university programs today is resource outreach. We all tend to work in our ow silos when it comes to covering news and that limits us in so many ways. While I am a b-i-g believer in community-based news coverage, the industry today is having to manager regional, state and national coverage with media partnerships. Newspapers, news radio, news television and independent news operations are cooperating more and more in news coverage. For instance, a newspaper might partner with a local television station to incorporate video with a written story on the newspaper’s website.
I wish I had or could find the resources to start a non-profit news organization dedicated to partnering different community college programs to better tell far-reaching news stories.
For instance, through my site, where I repost stories from California community college student publication websites I see a number of colleges are developing free tuition programs. Every site covers it from a one-college point of view. A partner effort could cover it from a statewide perspective: who is doing it and how is it being financed. Such coverage could help those colleges not yet talking about these kinds of plans. It would put the topic on the table and help those not yet doing it see what kinds of efforts work.
Every year colleges across the state report on enrollment figures. Some colleges go up, others go down. What are the statewide trends and where are they happening? There are just so many stories that could be told.
And the benefit to the students who worked on such projects would be so awesome. We all know that the workplace requires team effort from a diverse team. But we teach that only within our college boundary silos. We could be doing so much more.
This is one of those “if I won the lottery” ideas I run through my head from time to time. I would love to help such a program be developed to train better journalists for the future. I have devoted 41 years to community college journalism and hope that I have made contributions that leave all the programs in the state better off, not just my own program. While I am just months from retiring from teaching, I feel I have so much more to give.

What do you value? An exercise beyond compliance

March 15, 2012

UPDATE: I left out a word in the list of values below with my original post. It suggested that we cannot do multimedia. I meant the opposite: We MUST do multimedia.

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thinkingI just completed my formal six-year program review for the Cerritos College Mass Communications Department. In a rare move, the college’s Program Review Committee accepted our review with nothing but positive comments.

We complied. But this is my fifth career program review –my third at Cerritos College– and I long ago moved beyond the compliance stage of this accreditation-mandated self-examination of the program where we look at data to evaluate our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then set goals for ourselves. Program review is supposed to be about evaluating yourselves and improving. All good teachers do a version of this in their heads every day and this process is just a formal presentation that brings it all together and requires you to articulate what is going on.

While I enjoyed my fourth review most because the college’s processes allowed me to be a bit more creative and include successful narratives that made for more exciting reading, this review was interesting in that it was the first since the Journalism program and Radio-TV program had joined to form the Mass Communications Department. Working out compromise statements on strengths and weaknesses and in goal setting by my Radio-TV colleague added spice, especially as he approached the process more with compliance in mind than improvement (been there, bought the t-shirt and transcended).

After completing the review, though, something feels hollow. A big part of our two programs are our student media. And while they were addressed in the review, we really did not assess them deeply. I am thinking of moving beyond compliance of program review and now developing a student media review process. What are our student media all about?

Completing such a review and articulating it in a formal document would not only be challenging, but might even be instructive, not only for myself, but for my students, my colleagues, other journalism advisers and, eventually, my replacement.

But what to include in such a review? The college provided a format for its required review, one that emphasized its hot buttons and not necessarily mine. I accept their measuring sticks of completions, success (students getting a C or better) and course retention, but they don’t speak to the day-to-day goals of the student media.

I am thinking of including the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and goal-setting components of the other process –why completely re-invent the wheel?– but adding the values, resources and processes analysis that I have written about before.

The last few days, as I ponder whether I really want to do this extra work, I’ve been focusing on what our major values for the Talon Marks brand are. Here are my preliminary thoughts.

  • Student media should be student run, student produced and student edited
  • The print edition is still a valuable part of the student media process
  • We must train students to embrace a digital-first mindset
  • Producing stories without using multimedia techniques is not an option
  • Because we are trying to position ourselves as a news provider for our campus radio station audio is our current major multimedia focus
  • We need to embrace social media as a story-telling form
  • In the end we want students to walk away with a portfolio of varied storytelling examples

We have more values than that, but I wonder, what other values would other instructors include on such a list?


What newspapers can do to help journalism educators

March 15, 2009

By Rich Cameron
Cerritos College
Cal-JEC chair

What can California’s newspaper publishers do for journalism education at the high school, community college and university levels?

That’s one of the questions I will have to try to answer in a 10- to 15-minute presentation I will be making to long-time publishers next December when I report on the state of journalism education in the state of California. As chair of the California Journalism Education Coalition I lead a group that is trying to assess that topic for what we hope will be a bi-annual report. I’m already nervous.

As I woke up under the hot streams of my morning shower this morning –that shower time is some of my most creative thinking time– I pondered possible answers to the question of how they could help. Perhaps in the next six months of research that will go into the report we’ll ferret out specific needs, but I found one general answer this morning: Just talk to us.

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