Feb 28, 2020
Chueyee Yang/The Collegian

We never planned to work in a college newspaper. Here’s why we’re glad we did

By Razmik Cañas & Hayley Salazar

Allow us to introduce ourselves, we’re Razmik and Hayley.

If you’ve picked up The Collegian once or twice in the past two years you’ve probably seen our bylines. Or perhaps even pestering you on Fresno State Book and Trade looking for sources.

We’ve grown a lot since joining The Collegian team in May 2016. As our adviser George Hostetter says, we did “shoe-leather” journalism.

In the simplest terms, we literally walked up and down campus to find a story.

We’ve written. We’ve edited. And we have way too many interview recordings saved on our iPhones.

We’ve even dabbled into the world of digital journalism, launching a weekly newsletter and web-broadcast — quickly realizing that those projects are the future of media consumption.

But what really made the biggest impact on our education was the production of a print newspaper.

What many may not know is that we are not pursuing degrees in print journalism.

Razmik is a junior broadcast journalism and political science student. And Hayley will walk to get her business-marketing degree next week.

Neither of us planned to work at a newspaper during our college career.

But we are so glad we did.

Each of us have our own little story of how we stumbled upon The Collegian that spring of 2016.

Razmik’s first story was a five-paragraph essay with no quotes, and Hayley applied for an accounting assistant position that had already been filled for a year.

Like we’ve said, we’ve grown a lot.

As this semester’s news editor, Razmik led his writers on a roller coaster of a semester, covering student deaths, shootings near campus and a national Twitter controversy.

Hayley is the first digital editor at The Collegian, who launched the inaugural weekly newsletter and a new feature Instagram account called “Humans of Fresno State.”

Now, we sit down to write our last piece for The Collegian the night before our final production to tell you why this newspaper is so important – not just to its readership, but to those who produce it.

Weeks ago we launched “It’s Your Paper,” the new brand campaign for The Collegian. And we both stand by this campaign wholeheartedly. It’s true. The past two years, we both wrote for you.

But we also wrote for ourselves. We wrote to learn. We wrote to inform, and we wrote because we both have the passion to tell other people’s stories.

Being a student journalist at a university newspaper is not easy. We compete directly with local media outlets, and our social lives and education sometimes get put on the back burner for the sake of writing a story.

We’ve had to cover difficult topics like rape, suicide, drug-abuse and mental health — prompting us to conduct conversations across the campus that we wouldn’t have even with our closest friends.

And sometimes the reward is not even a simple pat on the back, but backlash. We do it because we know it’s the right thing to do.

The outcome of the print product is measured by how much the creators put into it. The staff at The Collegian prides itself on creating the best content as if it was our full-time career. Because working at a newspaper is not just about the interviews and the writing. It’s about time management, communication and problem solving – values any employer looks for in a potential employee.

Yes, we may have loved seeing our name on a front-page story, but the work done before the ink dried on that paper was even more valuable to us. Because we experienced the hard work it takes to put out a publication for the masses to see.

In the wake of financial struggles for student newsrooms across the country, we ask our readers to open their eyes to the reality of what a newspaper and its functions are.

It’s not just something you pick up from the kiosk to read now and then. It’s not just another news story on your Twitter feed. It’s the culmination of dozens of hard-working students exhibiting their talents to put the publication in your hands.

A student sold the advertisement on Page 3. A student designed the graphic on Page 6.

And a student went out of their way to hand you a copy outside of the University Student Union.

It’s a team effort. The experience is gained only at a few places accessible to college students.

So the next time you read a story from The Collegian, or any newspaper, take a minute to realize the work that went into that story.

It’s not about the writer on the byline or the editor who sent it to print. It’s a team, and we should support that work ethic no matter our career goals.

To the print journalism students on this campus, and all campuses, we thank you for setting the foundation that has inspired other students to see what hard work is really like.

It has been the greatest pleasure and privilege to write for you.

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