by Kat Anderson
Pacific Media Workers Guild, in partnership with Fog City Journal, just finished its first week of “summer school” for college journalists at its offices in San Francisco. The summer program, called “Bay News Rising,” is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. The program is operating with the help of a grant from the Berger-Marks Foundation, which supports women organizing women. The Project Director, Kat Anderson, is Executive Editor of Fog City Journal and a member of the Guild’s Freelance unit .
Sixteen students from City College and San Francisco State are participating in a speaker series of well-known journalists as well as educational programming designed to expose them to the requirements and challenges of working in a newsroom. We are working on economic and social justice themes, as well as exploring traditional and innovative labor reporting.
The students are also being tutored in career navigation and have been matched with media mentors who will help critique their work and offer them additional opportunities to see professionals in their working environments.
The students selected the Phoenix as their symbol to accompany the Bay News Rising moniker. This symbol represents young journalists rising up, covering social justice issues rising up, with a nod to the fact that print media is dying, but its successor, online and other new media, is rising out of the ashes of print media. A unifying theme that hits on many fronts.
Each student was presented with a Resource Guide specifically crafted for the program, as well as a freelance media credential. A student section of the Guild’s Freelance unit was created especially for the college journalism students.
Carl Hall, Executive Officer of the Guild, and Rebecca Rosen Lum, Pulitzer-prize nominated reporter and Freelance unit chair, were the first presenters. Hall talked about real journalism and ethical reporting, unionism, economic divergence and social justice issues, and critically analyzing the news. He gave the students an assignment to organize themselves with an offer of paid lost time for the student who was elected leader of their bargaining unit. He encouraged the students to demand to be paid and to make a proposal to him, the employer, underscoring that they should never work for nothing. He handed out several articles that he found compelling and that he hoped the students would read and be spurred to write similar pieces.
Rosen Lum, the program’s Editor-in-Chief, gently challenged the students to think about what they want to write and why, and what effect their writing could have. She shared a story she wrote about poor conditions in an SRO that catalyzed a city government to shut down the SRO, with unintended consequences (some residents then became homeless). We circulated two stories that Rosen Lum wrote that were part of the series for which she was nominated for a Pulitzer.
The students also participated in a career navigation workshop with Luther Jackson, economic stimulus manager of NOVA (workforce strategies). Jackson encouraged the students to think of the many skills that journalists possess, that could translate to other career options, such as grant-writing, running foundations, government relations, and the like. He suggested they join LinkedIn and build up their networks.
The students include 10 reporters and 6 photojournalists. The photojournalists are being led by Luke Thomas, Editor-in-Chief of Fog City Journal, and award-winning photojournalist who also attended City College.
Classes will continue through the end of July. Students who successfully complete the program will receive stipends. They will also be paid freelance scale wages for articles or photo stories they publish during the summer.