City College San Francisco
The Guardsman

Journalism DepartmentIndicator
Journalism Department
Journalism Department
Journalism Department

Volume 144, Issue #7

The Guardsman Online


There appears to be a trend among many college students to shun nature and the outdoors.

Video games, television, shopping and parties are the primary choices for recreation or leisure.

Most City College students learn subjects to vault them into offices, hospitals and labs.

Ask someone on campus to identify a tree or bird and you are likely to draw blank stares. Offer them a chance to hold a native millipede or snail and you’ll hear them scream.

The trend to avoid nature and the outdoors is in part caused by overprotective parents imbuing their children with fear due to sensational journalism. The environment seems to only make the news when it is found to contain something scary or toxic.

A story about hikers being attacked by a mountain lion will make the front page of a paper or lead off the evening news telecast while no one seems to remember that thousands of people go hiking every year and don’t get attacked.

Thankfully there is hope for those brave enough to enjoy breathing fresh air, seeing wildlife and occasionally getting dirt under their fingernails.

Our science department offers several courses during which students spend a weekend at various sites absorbing their education from the outdoors.

Observing the life processes in a tidal marsh firsthand is a more effective learning tool for some students than reading about it in a text.

For those who don’t have the time to commit a weekend to outdoor study, the open spaces of the Ocean campus are an accessible option to anyone with a few minutes between classes.

Plants, insects, birds and the occasional salamander are available for scrutiny to the curious non-squeamish types.

Students have an opportunity to overcome societal mis-education, by visiting such exotic local sites like Point Reyes, the Palo Alto Baylands and the Presidio in San Francisco. For those down for a longer road trip there’s also a course in Mendocino.

It is through developing a fascination with and overcoming the fear of the environment that we learn to cherish and protect it.




I didn’t understand what I was getting into on Oct. 13 when I volunteered to represent City College in the On-the-Spot News Writing competition at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges-Northern California conference in San Jose.

My assignment was to listen to Oakland Tribune Managing Editor Martin Reynolds, who spoke and capture the essence of his speech in a tightly worded, Associated Press-style news article. I had less than an hour to write the story.

Reynolds’s message was simple: “Be different.” I was also lucky that Reynolds did not stray from his topic, which was on the future of journalism.

Once done with the presentation, I made my way to the classroom where I would write my news story based on his speech.

While I competed with other students in this category, I honestly never gave them a thought. I was focused on writing a news story that would be different from all the others.

My goal was to get an honorable mention from the judges. In the end, I did considerably better winning first place for City College.

Other academic disciplines are not immune to the changes taking place in journalism. Thus, Reynolds’ message is important to all students regardless of their major.

“Being different” requires a solid foundation in the fundamentals of one’s academic field. Indeed, Reynolds firmly believes young professionals should be well grounded in the fundamentals of their discipline before they seek to “be different.”

Once grounded in the basics of your subjects, Reynolds advised students to grasp new technologies and ideas to create original and different products.

Expand your thinking and you can expect a rewarding and challenging career, regardless of your discipline. Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others put limits on you.




When was the last time you thought of others before yourself? Have you ever thought of how people from Third World countries are living? Whenever you throw out leftover food, have you ever thought that a starving kid from Africa is willing to eat that? When you go to bed at night, have you ever thought of a child having to sleep on the muddy ground and not having eaten for days?

Poverty is a serious issue around the globe. Approximately 25,000 people die every day because of hunger and malnutrition. The number of deaths from famine is growing fast and we must do something to save their lives.

So what do other people who have extra dollars to spare do? Charity, of course! Donations given to organizations help these people who are in dire need. Giving money, even just a little, means a lot to poor people around the world.

Several organizations try to help these people. Some even lend money to people in Third World countries who have almost nothing to eat or drink and no place to live. This kind and noble act has seriously changed a lot of lives.

Former president Bill Clinton wrote a book,” Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.” According to the Clinton Foundation Web site, “’Giving’ highlights the work of a number of extraordinary people and organizations – some famous, as well as many private citizens whom readers will be hearing about for the first time – all of whom represent a global floodtide of nongovernmental, nonprofit activity.”

The message is explained in the book’s title: even if we gave out a dime to each beggar who passes by, all of us can make a difference. The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, declares, “Everyone can join the fight. The goal of ending poverty may seem lofty, but it is within our reach if we take action together as one.” Together, if we put our dimes and quarters together, we can give thousands -- possibly millions -- of dollars. After all, what’s a dollar without a quarter?



What do you think about organizations that ask for small amounts of money to be ssent to families in need through a process called "sharing"?

James Vilchez, General Education
"I feel liuke that's kinda risky. You know? I would like evidence and truth that money's getting somewhere, y'know? If I were to give money, I'd rather do it on my own time, y'know, than have someone else do it. [I'd like to] be the one there to see it happen."

Celeste Parcell, Counseling
“I guess it depends on oversight. You know, if there’s some oversight to it somebody’s deciding where.. You know, I would want to know where that money’s going to. What’s in need..."

Paul Quinlan, Undeclared
“It depends on the organization. Some of them, some of them are corrupt... general concept [of sharing] is okay, as long there’s participation and accountability.”

Tiffany Smith, Social Work

“I don’t have a problem donating money to organizations because I’m in a situation right now that renders me helpless without the organization. If I’m donating to an organization, I just want to know where my money’s going. And I wanna be assured that it’s getting there, so you’re gonna have to show me something. I’m gonna have to see some change. I’m gonna have to see some lives being helped.”

Crystal John, Photography
“When you pull together your resources, I think that’s a good thing. Like, pull together resources so that other people can [...] benefit. I don’t think it’s bad. I think that sometimes nonprofits don’t have enough money to go around, and then that is hard for them, really. Because people are strained, so then sometimes they don’t have the room to share.”

Zoe Palladino, General Education
“I think organizations create a very nice opportunity to get people to share and help each other out.”



We all have roommates. It’s truly what makes college an experience. When I got to college, I looked forward to having roommates of my own. And I can definitely say I’ve had my fair share of good and bad roommates.

Dirty dishes in the sink, noise or the unruly hours they keep can sometimes make it hard to keep yourself from going insane.

I’ve had roommates who had no respect for anyone else in the house, stayed up to three in the morning and talked loudly on their cell phone while the television blared. I lost a lot of sleep because of them, but fortunately we don’t live together anymore.

When life gives you lemons, make sure they’re fresh before you make lemonade. With roommates, you have to be picky about who lives with you: don’t settle for someone you’re not sure you could live with six months down the road. I think if I took more time to pick my roommates the first time, I could have avoided most of the heartaches that I’ve had to endure.

Roommates aren’t all bad, but finding the right roommate isn’t easy either. You have to stick it out. Life has a funny way of working itself out, even when you’re down on your luck. Trust me. I’ve been there and bought the T-shirt.




I’ve actually been told a few times that I look angelic. People, I am the perfect example of the quote “looks are deceiving.” I’ll leave out the good stuff about me because it’s so easy for people to see that part of me. Let’s discuss my dark -- if not bad -- side instead.

I’m probably the biggest procrastinator you will ever come across. I do whatever I want until 3 a.m., and only then will I start my homework that’s due six hours later.

I spend too much money on useless crap, then throw it away a few weeks later or give it to someone or stack them at the back of my closet only to discover 10 years later that they exist.

I say a lot of things I don’t mean, like promising myself I would clean my room every day.

I easily enter my “Michelle-is-pissed“ mode, meaning that everyone who talks to me is my enemy for an hour or so. Literally, things FLY when I’m mad.
I’m seriously hella fickle-minded: one minute, I hate this song, and the next, I’m singing along with it. I waste too much time on MySpace than on any other thing. My friends say I act like a tomboy, possibly because my closest friends are boys. I like sports, especially basketball -- I‘m a huge Warriors fan -- and tennis.

I waste gallons of gas in downtown SF whenever I kick it with my sister and cousins on weekends, driving around in circles, surveying every neighborhood and its residents.

Please don’t forget that I have a good side, too. Talk to me. Hang out with me. You’ll see. I’m a nice person. Don’t be scared. I don’t bite…hard.