The Union Weekly deserves to be acknowledged
My name is Richard Mejia and I am the Managing Editor at the Union Weekly. In only my second semester at California State University, Long Beach, I am proud to be a part of a school that values their students and provides a plethora of resources to those students in order for them to reach their full potential. Coming from Long Beach City College, I was excited to join the journalism program at CSULB, given that notable journalists in Southern California have cut their teeth here. Throughout the school year, myself and my Editor-in-Chief Katie Cortez have exhausted all of our efforts and have been endlessly determined to make the Union Weekly a credible and respected publication. With 28 issues completed, I felt we achieved that task and none of this would have been possible without the student staff as well as student contributors.
However, as I sat throughout the roughly five-hour Journalism Day event, I was completely dumbstruck.
The Union Weekly was not acknowledged.
Not a single mention of our existence nor an invitation to myself or Katie was extended to honor our staff. Are we not aspiring journalists? Are we not developing students? Does the journalism department not give a damn about the Union Weekly? I don’t care about awards, scholarships or any other type of back-scratching that goes on at these events, but it was JOURNALISM DAY. A day to recognize journalists on campus and encourage their chosen path. Sure, our professors told us to go and in most cases, made us go—but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the journalism department failed to acknowledge a campus publication made up of over 20 students that produce the best content on campus.
For nine months, our unpaid editors sacrificed their Saturdays to layout their pages and edit their content. For nine months, our unpaid staff writers would produce more than two articles per week while working part-time jobs and attending class full time. We’re not a mandatory class. We don’t have professors and Pulitzer Prize winners telling us how to layout our pages. We’re a collection of students with diverse backgrounds who love what we do and put all our efforts into that work.
Are we lazy because we use words like fuck, shit and goddamn? Hell no. We follow AP Style and ensure that anyone writing for us understands at least the most basic guidelines of AP. We’re not just another college publication who writes about whatever they want; we have broken big stories, kept the campus up-to-date with events that have occurred in and around the community and most importantly—we have given the students a voice.
We accept all students to sit down in our meetings and pitch stories. We sit down with aspiring journalists and explain to them why their stories are good and what needs to be worked on. We go out of our way to reinforce what we have been taught by our professors in hopes that the program on campus becomes one of the premier programs in all of California.
We’re journalists. We’re engineers. We’re artists. We’re mathematicians. We’re scientists. We’re students.
If the department’s mission is to help journalists and students alike develop, then I implore you, recognize the Union Weekly. We don’t need awards; we don’t need a plaque; we don’t need a blurb in the Daily 49er. All we ask is that you acknowledge we exist. We’re not a throwaway publication—we’re journalists from all walks of life and we’re here to stay.