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

A PCCD board meeting held during spring break included really good news for the funding of retiree benefits, as well as the approval of $1.36 million for the new Laney Tower elevators.   Pictured: New designs for CoAs revamped aviation facility, which were approved by the board. (Source: AE3 Partners)
'Really good news' for retiree benefits, Laney Tower elevators set for replacement, and more at 3/26 meeting for PCCD trustees
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • April 7, 2024
Read Story
In this monthly column, I chat with folks from the Peralta community and ask ten questions aiming to make everyone more relatable to each other. (Graphic by Randi Cross/The Citizen)
Tea with Tamara: Drew Burgess, art faculty at College of Alameda
Tamara Copes, Columnist • February 21, 2024
Read Story

Laney Professor Eleni Gastis Recognized for Achievement in Journalism Education

Eleni Economides Gastis, Chair of Laney College’s Journalism Department, has been awarded the James Madison Freedom of Information Beverly Kees Educator Award by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Northern California chapter. 

Gastis is being recognized for her leadership and for teaching as the faculty advisor to The Citizen, an entirely student-run online news publication covering the Peralta Community College District (PCCD). The publication recently received a James Madison Freedom of Information Award for its ongoing coverage of PCCD’s oversight of contracting, expenditures, facility maintenance, and public safety. 

The Indianapolis-based SPJ is a non-profit organization dedicated to support, encouragement, and ethical practice in journalism. Its 6,000 members advocate for freedom of information, First Amendment rights, and the safety of journalists. It is organized into nearly 250 regional chapters across the United States and territories with virtual chapters across the globe.

Gastis, a 2004 graduate of San Francisco State University, began her career in journalism with the Bay Area News Group and the San Francisco Examiner, where she covered local governments, culture, and crime. She began teaching at Laney in 2011, and became full-time faculty in 2015. In 2019 she took over as faculty facilitator for PCCD’s student-run publication – at the time called The Laney Tower –  and spearheaded the effort to update and revitalize it to meet industry standards. The publication was rebranded as The Citizen in November 2019.

The Citizen reached out to Mark Johnson, PCCD’s Executive Director for Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations for comment from the district. Johnson provided a statement from the district that is included below.

“The Peralta Community College District is pleased whenever members of our amazing faculty are recognized and honored by communities in their areas of expertise. Faculty at Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College are made up of experts and seasoned professionals – professors who love to teach. Our students benefit greatly when taught by these outstanding faculty members, which certainly includes Professor Gastis.” 

Johnson also passed on Interim Deputy Chancellor Stephanie Droker’s congratulations in the statement.

“Congratulations, Eleni! Well-deserved!” Droker said. 

Johnson also expressed his personal congratulations to Gastis and staff members of The Citizen that recently appeared on local Fox station KTVU-2 to talk about the award and promote the journalism program at Laney College.

“I’d also like to applaud Professor Gastis and student journalists Shiloh Johnston and Ken Lester for their appearance on KTVU in a delightful interview celebrating student journalism at Laney College. The promotion of community college education, particularly at Laney College, and particularly in journalism, is greatly appreciated. Well done!”

Gastis will receive the award at the SPJ NorCal James Madison Freedom of Information Awards Ceremony in San Francisco on March 16, 2023.

About the Contributor
Timothy Lane, Opinion Editor
Known to friends as Tim or “TL”, Timothy Lane was raised in western Massachusetts. His hobbies and passions as a young boy included reading the Encyclopedia Americana and National Geographic at random, studying maps and atlases, and swimming the breaststroke for the Westfield, Mass. YMCA youth swim team. Tim has spent has spent much of the last 30 years as a teacher and scholar shuttling between the US and South Africa: first as a volunteer teacher in a rural high school in the northern Limpopo region of South Africa; then doing oral historical research in those rural communities as well as South African national archives in Pretoria; and since 2003 working with international public health scholars and community organizations throughout the US and South Africa to end the HIV epidemic. He has lived in the Bay Area since 1993, and has called Oakland home since 2015.
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