Mandie Montes/Courier Illustration showing the awards the Courier has won at past JACC conferences. Created on October 11, 2018.
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Every semester, the Courier comes away from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) conference with numerous awards for our talents in writing and photography. However, unless our publication is able to acquire the necessary funding from Pasadena City College (PCC), we risk losing vital access to this important conference which allows us to further our skills and journalistic integrity by creating journalists ready to document stories for our campus and beyond.

JACC is more than just a gathering of community college journalism programs, it gives our writers and photographers the opportunity to showcase and improve upon their gifts in various aspects of journalism such as with on the spot competitions. These competitions involve the student journalist having about one hour to cover a story, such as a speaker event, and then having one hour to produce a story based on their coverage. For writers, they use the hour to write a story, and photographers use it to format their photos properly. This time crunch forces us to push ourselves beyond the normal conditions we’re used to and from it, we become more skilled.

In these competitions, we place in every category we enter. Last month at regionals, we placed in every  competition we were in, leaving with awards for news writing, news photo, opinion writing, and critical review. On top of that, we also acquired awards for the mail in competitions, including placing twice for enterprise news story for our coverage on the presidential search and I-8 sex offender Ty Yu. Further, we also won second place for our editorial on the Board of Trustees’ failed presidential search.

Besides giving us a platform to be an award winning publication, it is beneficial that we attend this conference as it opens up space for us to network with professional journalists, as well as potential future colleagues from other schools. In addition to this, a multitude of workshops are held which range from sports writing, to covering social justice issues and how to get into the profession.

Through this, we gain a more in depth knowledge of the journalism world, which only helps the work we do on the Courier. For us, JACC is an experience that cultivates and pushes our boundaries as journalists. It gives us motivation to do better in our work so we can apply it to how we cover PCC.

If we don’t have the funding to go this conference, we don’t have this chance to grow beyond our newsroom. Whether it’s here in Southern California or in our state’s capitol, JACC has every writer and photographer step outside their comfort zone and gives them further field experience they may not get to do within the PCC community. This extensive experience helps our staff and editors better assess what is important here at PCC and what stories need to be told, so as to create a better campus.

By attending this conference, the Courier enhances the view of our campus and the work we are doing to highlight voices and holding those in leadership accountable. We do great journalism here, with many awards to show for it, but no money to continue doing what we do best.

The Courier is dedicated to being a voice for PCC and all involved in it, and we should not be silenced simply because the institution we work tirelessly around will not set aside some of its budget for us. We love JACC and all the great opportunities it gives us and attending every semester only makes us better. This is only possible by PCC funding the Courier, and it needs to happen immediately.

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