Editorial: The river runs dry

Published by Jazmin Ode on

Collage created by Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

As a student-led newspaper, The Mainstream has been molded by its staff for the past 57 years. Students who have joined with a 12-credit merit award waiver or work-study opportunity have been paid while learning skills in The Mainstream that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The class has been open to any students who may be interested in media production, reporting or web design with one, two or three credit options.

Melinda Benton, the advisor for The Mainstream, will be retiring from a 28 year-long career at UCC in September. The Board of Education listed this development on their November 8 board meeting agenda with an acknowledgement of Benton’s initial October 24, 2023 retirement message, rewritten by Jennifer Silva, executive director of human resources.

With almost a year of advance notice, the posting for Benton’s job was only published in May of this year and no hiring committee has yet been formed.

All journalism courses were taken out of the 2024-25 fall schedule. According to Rachel Pokrandt, UCC president, the college’s three-year doing plan prioritizes classes which specifically lead to a degree. UCC doesn’t offer a specific media or journalism degree, just a pathway that helps media students transfer into university journalism or communication programs.

The cancellation of all journalism classes included Journalism Production, J 215, the class The Mainstream staff enroll in to produce the publication. If a faculty member isn’t hired by fall term, and if J 215 isn’t added back to the schedule, there will not be a credited class for students to enroll in.

The Mainstream merit awards and work study positions honor the staff’s hard work, dedication and time in producing each issue every two weeks. These opportunities are crucial not only in supplementing the staff’s tuition, but also affirming the value of our campus contributions.

According to Teresa Rivenes, vice president of academic services, The Mainstream merit awards and work study positions from the 2023-24 students will be continued next year whether The Mainstream stays as a class or converts into a club, as Rivenes once suggested. Or if it dissolves.

Rivenes has suggested putting The Mainstream merit award and work study students into other work positions elsewhere on campus next year, such as in the IT department or at the help desk.

Even if an instructor is found, the administrative staff have offered no certainty that The Mainstream will continue next year. In fact, administrators have warned that The Mainstream will go on a one-year hiatus without publishing.

Rivenes explained to staff in an email, “We will address this [hiatus] once qualified faculty is hired.”

Listing all the skills that The Mainstream provides for students would take up most of this article. As a course, it provides students with a unique professional learning environment so close to a real workplace that the class jumpstarts careers. Guided instruction in a production environment helps students get the experience needed to discover their talents and get resume content. The number of Mainstream students who go on into community leadership positions attests to its success: multiple Jacoby award winners have been Mainstream students.

Over half of the current staff have changed their career choices due to their experiences on The Mainstream.

Just over the past year, The Mainstream has reached many milestones reflecting students’ dedication, creativity, and hard work. We are proud to share their successes with our community. From publishing works to innovative design projects and exciting conventions, our staff have truly shined.

The Mainstream’s website has reached over 45 countries with returning interest from China, the UK, Australia and Indonesia. Currently, this term’s articles have been reposted 19 times to publications in both the UK and Australia. Athletic stories and creative works as well as videos often have the highest viewership.

This year, the staff resumed printing on a biweekly schedule. The Mainstream last maintained a regular print schedule during the 2019-20 school year.

The Mainstream staff went to New York in March for the second year in a row for the College Media Convention. The convention helped the students learn more about all aspects of productions and helped them make connections with fellow students’ newspapers.

Each spring, Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association holds a one-day event called Collegiate Day with training and a contest with multiple categories for student-led publications. The contest goes over works that were produced the following year.

The awards won by The Mainstream in the community college group are as follows:

The future of The Mainstream is unclear, but we hope to keep the opportunity to continue the legacy of this student-led publication through The Mainstream merit awards and work study opportunities. Thank you to all who have supported and been a part of the newspaper.

Contact me at:

For more articles by Jazmin Ode, please click here.