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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Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
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Inside our newsroom: Veronica

When our newsroom was called out about being older and possible tricksters, I took it personally.

This piece is part of a series that members of the Citizen staff wrote to share our stories and in response to comments that Trustee Linda Handy recently made about our newsroom.


My name is Veronica Steiner and I am a student attending Laney College for the first time this semester. I recently decided to come back to school after being furloughed from my job as the sales director of events and catering at Credo Restaurant, located in the financial district of San Francisco. Before my time at Credo, I opened a small business with three of my brothers and my parents called Steins – a sports bar and restaurant with a German influence, also in San Francisco. I have accomplished many things in my thirty-two years on Earth, including starting the Richmond District Community Club, which builds sisterhood through service, a two time Miss California USA contestant and most recently giving birth to my first child in July.

2020 has challenged me emotionally, physically and professionally, but most importantly it gave me the opportunity to assess what I really want from my life. When I lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw an opportunity to chase my dream: finish my degree and break into the world of journalism. This August I jumped in headfirst. I wasn’t sure how this would look for my family. I was unemployed and my husband would have to bear the burden of being the sole provider for our growing family. Nevertheless, he supported my decision and we decided to move forward, assessing and adjusting as we went along. 

Classes started on August 24 and it was in Journalism 18 (News Production) that I realized I had made the right decision. All roads had led me to this moment — to this place — to this opportunity. 

Journalism 18 produces the student-run publication The Citizen. On the first day, our instructor, Eleni Gastis, asked us to submit a writing sample answering: “What is the most important news story from the last six months? Why?” 

When we received feedback later that week, Eleni said she saw potential in my writing and asked to speak with me outside of class. 

Eleni believed in me — in my writing and my potential. She asked me about my personal and professional goals, especially what I hoped to gain from writing for The Citizen. Without hesitation she referred me to the editor in chief, Jacquelyn Opalach, and suggested I inquire about the feature editor position. She mentioned a possible internship opportunity with On Spec, a podcast specializing in “on-the-ground reporting from around the world.” Eleni also encouraged me to meet with an academic counselor to plan if I wanted to transfer, and provided me with a counselor’s name and email. Since that first interaction, my life has completely changed. 

I got the editor position, am now an intern for On Spec, met with that counselor and submitted my application for transfer in the fall. I am a first-generation college student, and in the fall of 2021, I will be the first woman in my family to be accepted to a university. 

I’m doing so by going through the Laney Journalism AA-T pathway for transfer to a CSU. You see? Our news production class is so much more than a news production class. We are a family, and we rely on each other personally and within the parameters of the newsroom to brainstorm, research, edit and publish articles. 

When our newsroom was called out about being older and possible tricksters, I took it personally. 

Yes, I am a student. Yes, I am in my thirties. Yes, I may be older than some students, but that absolutely does not give anyone the right to discredit my work or my ethics as a person, student or journalist. 

I have a rich history that led me to this moment, and it is my understanding that elected trustees are supposed to be a voice for us, the students. They should represent us regardless of our age, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other defining factor, because it is us who make up the Peralta community.  When discrediting us as a publication or as students, it’s important to remember it is the student community that you have sworn to uphold. We ultimately hold the power, one vote at a time.

About the Contributor
Veronica Steiner
Veronica Steiner, News Editor
Born in Connecticut, Veronica moved to the Bay Area with her family for new opportunities. After moving to San Francisco in 2011, Veronica and her family opened a bar and restaurant in the Richmond District of San Francisco. After having her first child, she was eager to finish her education and pursue her dream of writing — so she joined The Citizen. Having deep roots in community service as she founded a women’s group building sisterhood through service, a big sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters and an Americorps Alumni, Veronica believes journalism is the perfect bridge of career and passion, combining a life of service and substance.
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