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

    You’re already a journalist

    There’s a tradition at the Laney Tower: on their way out, editors-in-chief write farewell op-eds in which they offer advice or words of wisdom to their readers.

    I’m deviating from this tradition only a little: I’m not writing to the readers of the Laney Tower. I’m writing to its future writers — which is to say, I’m writing to you.

    You may not know this, but as far as I’m concerned, you’re already a journalist.

    You know your subject — your city, your school, your life — as intimately as any great journalist knows the subject of their Pulitzer Prize-winning article.

    You’ve come up with thousands of words on that subject over the course of your lifetime — it’s all there in your head.

    The only difference between you and the writers in this issue is that we started writing all that stuff down.

    At a conference for community college journalists last year, the Global Press Institute’s founder, Cristi Hegranes, told us why she’d traded away life as an international correspondent. She’d come to realize that there was no one better to write about a place — a city, a school, a community — than the people who live there.

    Her organization simply shows people how to turn everything they know about themselves into the hard-hitting stories that make waves and effect real change.

    Many of the writers whose work is featured in this issue had never been published before the semester began. But each of them already had a beat — a community they knew better than anyone on staff did — and damn if they weren’t going write the hell out of that beat.

    For Shane Frink, it was the gritty, attention-grabbing sounds of Oakland punk. For Alison Stapp, it was the “lefto, pinko” movements to save the environment. For Wilfred Galila, it was the secret world of Peralta tutors.

    You already have a beat, too. You’re already a journalist. You already have a portfolio.

    Come make it bigger. Come see it in print. Come join the Laney Tower.

    KR Nava is editor-in-chief of the Tower. E-mail him at krwords(at)gmail.com.

    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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