Seven outdated computers, two cameras and several printer issues. Does that sound like enough resources to support a class that is responsible for publishing a paper that is seen by over one thousand students and their family members, let alone one that has won prestigious awards? The answer to that, simply put, is a resounding no.
Technology issues aside, there are a number of logistical challenges facing the Journalism class, from securing enough subscriptions to ensuring that we have enough funds to continue printing issues next year. At the same time, any future projects or additions to the existing paper would require even more funds on top of that. As of now, this money is raised through the efforts of Journalism students selling subscriptions to residents and advertisements to local businesses, but there is only so much that a class of 26 students can do.
The troubling aspect of this is the fact that these issues arise despite the fact that Journalism is a class at San Marin. Not a club or any sort of extracurricular, but a student-run class. Why is that important? Let us look at another class that has an emphasis on the use of computers and cameras: Multimedia Design.
Students in Multimedia Design have over 30 iMac desktops at their disposal and an array of nine high-quality cameras to be used at any given point in time, all of which have been partially funded with a Career Technical Education Grant, with the intention of enriching students’ experiences and providing the best options available. Overall, the cost of the computers, cameras and television amount to over $100,000, with costs directly to the district approaching $50,000. Why isn’t a similar amount of support and funding provided to Journalism?
This is not to say that the Multimedia Design class doesn’t deserve the tools and resources that it currently has. In fact, I’m lucky enough to be taking Multimedia Design this year and have access to all that the class offers. The fact that it has taken numerous printer malfunctions and sudden computer shutdowns, however, to highlight the importance of updating technology for the Journalism class while tens of thousands of dollars are being spent on a new class raises too many concerns over where the money is directed.
In the end, equal needs are not met in equal fashions. For Journalism, which teaches students skills on how to conduct business and, in a sense, work in the real world, to receive less than five percent of what other classes are given is wrong. While we have been able to succeed largely on our own, the best way for us to move forward as a publication is with the support of the district. We aren’t asking for the $50,000 that Multimedia Design received, nor are we demanding that Journalism receive special treatment among other classes.
All that we hope for is that the district is willing to treat and support its students and classes equally.