“I learned the majority of what I needed to know to work in a newsroom at SLCC. Because the program is small, I had the opportunity to do multiple jobs. Walking into The Globe office, you immediately are given a job or an assignment,” says Jessica Harrison, former Editor-in-Chief for The Globe from 2004 to 2005. Harrison is now working as a full time Copy Editor and part time critic/staff writer for Deseret News.
Harrison is just one of many who gained valuable hands-on experience while working for Salt Lake Community College’s newspaper. “I am able to do multiple things at my own newspaper, because I learned to do them hands-on at SLCC,” says Harrison.
The valuable experience Harrison speaks of, experience current and future journalism students at SLCC rely and thrive upon, could soon be a thing of the past. Due to recent budget shortfalls, SLCC’s independent student newspaper has lost half its funding from student fees; funding that goes toward the weekly printing costs. By this time next year, The Globe could exhaust the rest of its resources and be forced to fold.
“Without a product to work on and develop those skills, there is no point in offering a journalism program,” says Harrison.
One of the benefits for SLCC students is the ability to gain technical experience in the desired field of each students liking. Students at SLCC acquire more than textbook knowledge and test scores. SLCC allows students to dig in, get their hands dirty, and explore different trades in real-world settings. Students of the welding program get to weld and cosmetology students get to cut hair. The newspaper is to future journalism students as oxy-acetylene torches and scissors are to students in the welding and cosmetology programs.
“Journalism is a profession that’s best learned by doing, and that is exactly what my experience at SLCC allowed me to do. We had a small, but dedicated staff, so this gave me the opportunities to jump right in and start learning how to be a reporter in real-life scenarios, not just in a lab,” says Jody Genessy, current sports writer for Deseret News.
Deseret News hired Genessy right out of SLCC. It wasn’t until four or five years after landing a job at Deseret News that Genessy received training at a four-year university. Genessy is also the professional adviser of The Globe, has written a book, and has had his work published in USA Today, Los Angeles Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, and the Indianapolis Star, among others.
“Honestly, I owe my career to the opportunity I received at SLCC, and that’s not an over-statement. My entire journalism foundation was built at SLCC,” says Genessy.
According to Harrison, students attending other colleges and universities aren’t as lucky. “At other schools, it’s hard to get into the programs and once in, there is little flexibility,” says Harrison.
Harrison was able to perform many different roles while working for the paper. Starting out as a contributing writer before becoming Editor-in-Chief, The Globe afforded Harrison the opportunity of writing whatever she wanted, editing other writers work, and managing other students. When Harrison applied for an internship at Deseret news, she was armed only with the clips she had from her experience with The Globe. Harrison claims that while she found the copyediting and mass media law classes taken at the University of Utah invaluable in preparing her for her current job, “Everything else, I learned at SLCC. That’s saying a lot.”
Genessy shares Harrison’s sentiments. “[I] am very thankful that I didn’t have to wait until I went to a four-year college to get the type of hands-on experience that was there for the taking,” says Genessy.
In addition to Genessy and Harrison, Deseret News has also benefited from another Globe Alumni, Nicholas Parker. Parker began work as a copy editor for Deseret News in Nov. of 2009. As far as his experience with SLCC’s newspaper, Parker started with The Globe as opinion editor, just before his senior year of high school. Parker stayed with The Globe from 2004 to 2008. After his position as opinion editor, Parker was promoted to senior editor and eventually elected Editor-in-Chief for the 2005-2006 school year.
Parker developed an appreciation for both The Globe newspaper and its readers. “We were a real paper that just happened to be located on, and have the readership of, a college campus,” says Parker, “And I would often remind our readers and staff of that. We learned to respect our readers’ interests, while pushing to learn about the inner workings of journalism through the eyes of real journalists – our own.”
The loss of The Globe’s funding will have a two-fold impact on SLCC students. In addition to future journalism students losing an avenue of real-world experience, the readers and college community as a whole will lose their independent voice.
“If the paper is taken away, an important voice of the people – the student body mainly – will be silenced,” says Genessy, “It would be a travesty and a black eye on the college to eliminate this newspaper program.”
Parker agrees. “I couldn’t discourage anything more at a college. The newspaper is meant to be the student voice. If the paper folded, who would keep an eye on the administration or the happenings on or around campus?”