Back in Black… and White

Times print newspaper saved from chopping block


San Jacinto Times archives

The last issue of the spring semester says a nostalgic goodbye to San Jac’s traditional student publication.

The San Jacinto Times was set to end its 23-year print run last spring and switch to a digital platform beginning Fall 2013.  The San Jacinto College Administration decided to keep the Times a print publication, and not move to a web-based newspaper.

Central campus Provost Van Wigginton said the college plans to keep a print paper, at least for the near future.

“The college recognized that there is still a lot of value in putting together a print paper. Yes, there is a benefit to having an online version, but there’s still a lot of skills that the students can acquire from going through the process of putting together a print paper,” Provost Wigginton said.

“Obviously there are still print newspapers. As we prepare you (students) to move forward, it’s always nice to have gone through those processes to understand how you put together a newspaper.”

The last Spring 2013 issue of the Times featured an article saying the paper would no longer be printed. The issue contained several stories paying tribute to the paper’s history.

The principles of journalism dictate that inaccuracies weaken a publication’s credibility. Provost Wigginton disagrees.

“The idea of going online was simply just a proposal. I almost had a feeling that when you (the paper) wrote that last edition last year, everybody thought that was the last edition of the year. They really didn’t think about it not being continued,” he said.

Dr. Jerry Ivins, Chair of Fine Arts and Artist Director of Theatre and Film, led the charge to transition the Times to a digital platform. For the last year and a half, Dr. Ivins worked with the newspaper advisor and the film faculty to create a symbiotic relationship between the three areas.

“We would each have our own distinct programs. Theatre would continue to do plays, film would continue to make their films, and newspaper would still be looking at journalism, writing stories and so forth- but that we would all come together in some way to try and support an online type of delivery mode,” Dr. Ivins said, “We feel that based on the direction of the community and of the world of journalism, it’s really going more towards broadcast than it is print.”

Although Dr. Ivins cleared that proposal with administrators, they decided to continue printing the newspaper.

“We spoke about it in what’s called ‘program review’ where we get together as an entire district and we talk about the program and where it’s going,” Dr. Ivins said, “We spoke about that merge and how we would no longer be doing a print newspaper, and every step of the way we got the green light from these channels of communication, and then after the article was printed I thought I would ask one more time and was told after a few emails- without any reason that we would continue with the print newspaper for at least a year.”

Dr. Ivins monitored how many newspapers were read during the Fall 2012 semester.

“It was an astonishing amount of newspapers that were not picked up, so much- by the time we got to the spring semester, we cut down even further the number of issues that we were printing,” he said.

Meanwhile, a number of students at San Jac were unaware of the proposed changes.  Student Erick Flores said he would be more likely to read it on paper.

“If I go online, I’m going to look at Google or Facebook.  There are too many distractions (online), but if I can pick up (the newspaper) I’ll look through it when I’m bored,” Flores said.