For those who don't know, the reason that I got the opportunity to write for the Sun-Star is because of the Merced College student newspaper, the Blue Devil Report. The revived paper that almost went extinct is the fruit of the labor of a small bunch of professors and students, perhaps the most professional amateurs this side of town; a group of people who were assembled and learned journalism from the ground up.
Imagine the scene at a newsroom; a large modern building with high ceilings; inside an open room is filled with desks that have computers, phones, stacks of papers, and all sorts of junk on them. The men and women sitting behind these desks are talking on the phone and typing away; some are hustling around the office; we hear so many voices going at once that it's hard not to be distracted. They are talking about news stories and who's doing what and what needs to get done. The next day a fresh newspaper is rolled off the printing press ready for anybody who wants to read it.
This is probably how they do it at some big news places; now let me tell you how it goes down at the Blue Devil Report office. On Tuesday, after my morning English class I met up with my Professor, Mr. Smith, who is also co-adviser to the school paper. Both of us being extremely busy, we got right to business, we walked and talked as we headed out of class and toward the Blue Devil Report office. On the way to the office we made a couple stops with some of our sources and reporters, thus adding more material to work with for our next issue.
After walking across campus we finally reached our office; the old janitorial closet no bigger than 6 by 12 feet had been graciously converted into a newsroom for us. (This is where it all comes together.) The computers that lined the inside walls produced warmth that was nice in the cold winter months butmade it a hellhole on almost every other day. A giant wire box stuck out of the top corners of the wall right below the ceiling; to this day I don't know what exactly it does, but from it a constant humming sound never ceases to stop, and in between every other open space on the walls, photos and old news stories are posted. Contrary to the fancy press offices of an old black-and-white movie our office defies all expectations.
Once inside we were met by another reporter, Albert. There were three of us now, Mr. Smith, Albert, and myself. Once we made ourselves as comfortable as we possibly could in that tiny space, we looked at the white board; it indicated who was writing what and what stories were going to be in the next issue. A little after we were met by more people from the journalism club; our unofficial clubmeeting had officially begun. Our talk went from business to interruptions to more business to more interruptions and then some hanging out. After what seemed like a long time we left the office and went on our separate ways. Though a lot of the ideas had been worked out, the actual manual labor had yet to begin, so we each left with a to-do list; the next issue of the school paper -- though not yet typed -- was complete.
The author is majoring in ag business at Merced College.