City College of San Francisco

Press Release: CCSF Journalism Students Excel in Fellowship Program

CCSF Journalism Students Excel In Fellowship Program

Four City College of San Francisco student journalists participating in a fellowship designed to give them time and resources to do in-depth reporting not typically available to community college students, earned high praise from program organizers for their broad-range of work.

The students produced panel discussions, photo stories, and articles about San Francisco’s economic recovery, two of which were published in local media outlets.

“This was super gutsy. I love what you guys did,” Joaquin Alvarado, program consultant for the Democracy and the Informed Citizen Emerging Journalist Fellowship, said. “So, a round of applause for San Francisco.”

The CCSF Journalism Department was one of a select few community colleges invited to participate in this year’s fellowship initiative.

The students met their peers from across the state and then worked collaboratively at their respective campuses under a faculty advisor throughout the fall 2021 semester to produce their projects.

“The fellowship gave added recognition to the worth of our program and the need for journalism education in fostering the next generation of journalists,” Journalism Department Chair Juan Gonzales said. “It helps to instill greater confidence in our students and to strengthen their passion for journalism. The fellowship is a defining statement that ‘Journalism Matters.’”

The inaugural fellowship cohort was led by faculty advisor Alex Mullaney, who is also a graduate of the program.

“Guiding student journalists in researching, reporting and writing in-depth articles is always a pleasure,” Mullaney said. “Community college journalism students are the future of diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded newsrooms.”

The Democracy and the Informed Citizen Emerging Journalist Fellowship program was launched in 2020 with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Federation of State Humanities Councils. It’s an outgrowth of California Humanities statewide initiative, CA 2020: Youth Perspective and the Future of California.

Statements from the fellows:

“The fellowship has allowed me, as a journalism student, to understand better the challenges and problems of my community in our country,” CCSF Journalism student Andy Damian-Correa said. “As a future journalist, I am responsible for giving a voice to those who do not have it, presenting the truth of our country, and understanding all voices.”

Democracy and the Informed Citizen is a statewide initiative from California Humanities designed to engage a broad cross-section of young Californians in consideration of the vital connections between democracy and journalism, according to the nonprofit. Presented in partnership with California community colleges, the initiative provides fellowships, training and mentorship for emerging student journalists, and opportunities for campuses and the public to engage in dialogue about the role of journalism in their communities and beyond.

“The fellowship has been a chance to see the faces of community college reflected back at me. As part of the large group of student journalists from across the state, it’s been amazing to hear the stories from other colleges,” student journalist Hiya Swanhuyser said. “Sometimes their struggles to track down sources are just like ours, but other times, a department will blow everyone’s minds with a creative approach. It’s inspiring. Same goes for my “fellow fellows” here at CCSF; we’re always cheering each other on. The experience leaves me with a lot of hope and a feeling of community among newsgatherers — which you don’t always find out in the profession. This is what college should do: build you up.”

“The California Humanities fellowship granted me the opportunity to step into a realm that was unfamiliar to me as a student journalist,” student journalist Jennifer Yin said. “Trekking through uncharted waters such as hosting a panel discussion produced numerous sleepless nights. I’d lay in bed wondering— was I understanding the assignment correctly and was I telling the story as accurately as possible? All these doubts and anxiety had left a sour taste in my mouth. However, what this fellowship has taught me was to overcome these doubts, know where they originate from and how to proactively solve that internal ‘self-doubt’ narrative.”

“When I decided to make a career shift, the work of a journalist stood out as relevant, personal and essential,” student journalist Victor Tence said. “However, I had anxieties about the way the industry had been characterized by its competitiveness. And yes, the race to first report a story is still being run, but The California Humanities Fellowship has taught me that journalism is changing, because journalists themselves are changing.”

You can view the students’ projects here: Go here for a  a montage of that work.

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