Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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Archives
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Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
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Archives

    Confessions of a meta journalist

    What do you think a journalist is?
    I ask because when people usually talk about journalism and journalists and journalistic standards (like being “objective,” or “unbiased”), we’re usually talking about something vague and undefined — like talking about a hypothetical gun, and trying to debate whether it’s morally good or bad for it to exist. Doesn’t make any sense.
    So let me tell you what I know about journalism, as a journalist, among journalists: there’s no such thing as a journalist.
    There is no accreditation process for journalizing — no degree you must earn, no program you must complete, no practice to be barred from should you break some professional, ethical code. It’s a terrible myth that the people who call themselves journalists have always followed or should always follow some unwritten rules, or else they’ll let themselves and their readers and their country down. And the idea that there is such a thing as an independent, objective journalist — or that any person who touches or reports on or even thinks about our world can somehow “observe it from the outside” — is absolutely untrue.

    Daily News

    Because all you really need to be a journalist is the arrogance to call yourself one.
    And yet this nonexistent journalist — like the abstract gun — is not a neutral thing in the world.
    Journalists and their editors — simply by choosing which stories to tell and then by choosing how to tell them — give some perspectives, perceptions, and stories more weight than they do others, choices which have consequences in the real world. So the best journalists I know — the ones worth reading and the ones worth admiring — not only know that their feelings and experiences and ideas will inevitably inform how they produce news, but they also acknowledge it, and own up to it, and then run with it.
    The 20th century’s experiment with “objective” journalism (the age of the Pentagon Papers and Walter Cronkite that people love to glorify) is over, and it failed. It wasn’t enough. The world ran out of time to let facts float unvarnished, held aloft by the mighty journalist. The world needs gale-force winds and tectonic shifts and volcanic thrust if it is to be really, actually moved to reckon with our reality, to face head-on climate change, and violence, and poverty, and imperialism.

    Daily News

    But readers are not moved or changed by the cold, hard, monotone of AP bulletins, nor by the reasoned, sensible frustration of news outlets like NPR or the New York Times.
    We are moved and changed by genuine fury, and passionate rhetoric, and heart, and soul, and pain — and all that nuanced, unfakeable stuff you learn to let into the news you produce by believing completely and genuinely, with all of yourself, that what you’re saying needs to be said.
    So every journalist has a choice. And every editor chooses, every day, how their newspaper will present itself to the world. And every day, despite everything, these journalists and editors choose tameness and poise and the quiet whispers of tempered headlines and 10-point type.
    The New York Daily News has the 4th widest circulation of any newspaper in the country. 
    Check out their front pages over the last few days, including the ones to the left. The top one is from yesterday, Dec. 9; the bottom from their Dec. 3 issue.
    They are one of the only major U.S. publications that can claim to be wielding its power justly.
    Every newspaper in this country should be screaming. 
    And we, their readers, should be screaming with them.

    KR Nava is a Tower staff writer Email him at krwords(at)gmail.com

    Guest editorials
    The Tower accepts guest editorials of 400 to 500 words on topics that focus on Laney College and the wider community. Direct submissions to laneytower(at)peralta.We sometimes edit for space and clarity.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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