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PRESIDENT'S COLUMN: Communication is Critical

Spring/Summer 2000 Community College Journalist

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
I came into teaching in 1983 with 8 1/2 years experience as a broadcast journalist, and I knew right away that teaching was going to be a challenge. When I was told my duties included being faculty adviser to the student newspaper, I knew I would need some help.

I had been at the job of advising for about two years when I came across some information about an organization called College Media Advisers (CMA). There was going to be a conference in New Orleans with a session for new advisers, and I jumped at the chance to attend.

At the conference, I discovered I wasn't as bad off as some of my colleagues who had no knowledge of journalism nor of advising.

Nevertheless, this was a great session where I learned a lot and me some good people who were facing the same challenges I was.

It was through CMA that I discovered the Community College Journalism Association (CCJA) and I signed up immediately, never dreaming that one day I might be called on to be its president. It wasn't too long be fore I also discovered my state journalism organizations, the Texas Community College Journalism Association (TCCJA) and the Texas Intercollegiate Press Advisers Association (TIPAA).

This, again, gave me the opportunity to meet colleagues in the same profession, who cared about the principles and practice of journalism and who wanted to present their students with opportunities to learn and to exhibit their work and compete for awards.

I guess I have always been a joiner, and while I helped myself and the students through my affiliations with CMA, CCJA, TCCJA and TIPAA, I was still looking for another acronym to add to this list. Six or seven years ago, I found AEJMC, which stands for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and it has been important to my professional development.

There's also an important link between the national organizations and a history that needs to be noted. Our colleague S. Roy Wilson, professor emeritus, College of the Desert explains it this way: "CMA has long been a student-oriented, faculty/newspaper/ yearbook/magazine advisors organization.

It serves a very useful purpose. AEJMC, however, is different. It is a research-focused, university faculty-oriented organization . . . that gave birth to CCJA."

Those pioneers who founded CCJA felt that community college journalism was more than producing student publications. They felt that they had an obligation to provide a smooth transfer of community college journalism students to four-year colleges and universities.

"By being a part of the four-year faculty organization, it was felt we could enhance articulation for our students between the two levels of higher education. Location, location, location is the motto of the real-estate profession. Likewise, articulation, ar ticulation, articulation is the motto of CCJA."

I leave the position of president of CCJA encouraging all of you to keep this relationship working. It's valuable and viable. Be as I have been, a joiner. Lend your time, talent and expertise to help CMA, CCJA and AEJMC survive and prosper in this new millenium. CCJA especially needs your help.

We have been struggling, but we're getting back on track with The Journalist, and we thank all of you who have shown concern and offered your support. Continue to do that by sending in your manuscripts, book reviews and comments. And finally, continue to step up and serve CCJA as an officer.

We need you.

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