The sense of the new now before us in PVCC’s journalism program draws from the energy and vision of students as it has from the start.
When I first began advising PVCC’s journalism program, the press published on four print pages. The staff comprised nine students in JRN201, News Writing. We shared a computer and desk with Student Life, and we pasted up pages for the printer while we scrambled to learn QuarkExpress, so that we could do the layout graphically, sometimes working at school until the wee hours of the morning.
It was an exciting time. Within three semesters, we went from four to 24 pages and incorporated a magazine in the school’s student publication. With the support of then president, Gina Kranitz; then dean of student services, Paul Dale; then associate dean of instruction, Mary Lou Mosley; then English chair, Jack Sexton; and later, current chair, John Nelson, the press gained a newsroom and developed the Occupational Journalism Certificate Program.
However, no one was more crucial in this enterprise than the students. The Puma Press’ first editors led the press forward as pioneers. Timothy Wooten, Kenneth Overton and Patricia Whitney each brought a unique energy to the press that set the pace for student publishing at PVCC.
Last week, I had a chance to visit with two of these three. Pat Whitney and her husband Herb, who formerly taught Media and Society at PVCC, met my husband and I for lunch while vacationing for the holidays in Phoenix. Pat now writes for The Madison Courier in Madison, Indiana. She went through PVCC before the journalism certificate became available in 2005, but she took every journalism class she could and emerged from college ready to take a job in the industry.
Overton stopped by my office last week, too, making it feel like old home week. Overton is a paramedic with the Phoenix Fire Department. That elite group of firefighters welcomed him, vetted him and put him to work in a job he loves and has chosen to keep, despite an offer to write for TMZ. Overton is now interning as an instructor at PVCC with the plan to teach paramedics.
Here’s what Overton has to say about PVCC’s journalism program:
Students give to the press, forging the way forward, and the press gives back.