As Wilkinson College’s journalism program enters its second year of a partnership with the Voice of OC, even more students are getting a taste of real-life journalism while reporting, writing and editing with Orange County’s nonprofit newsroom. Under the guidance of professional journalists, students post dispatches and stories about local government and its impact on Orange County residents while learning the theory and practice of journalism in our virtual classrooms.
“Our goal is to have student journalists working in a teaching hospital environment where they’re able to, in real time, see how their reporting impacts the community around them and fuels change,” said Norberto Santana, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Voice of OC.
The partnership between Wilkinson and Voice of OC gives student journalists – the foot soldiers of democracy – reporting credentials and portfolios with strong writing samples to share for future internships and jobs. More important, the program provides students with the strong foundation they need to become inquisitive, critical thinking, fearless professionals and informed citizens.
“Students spend a lot of time interacting with city halls, are regularly published, and graduate from our program with a solid set of clips and professional references if journalism is their goal. If not, they leave as armed citizens with a clear understanding of the law and how they can defend their quality of life when it comes to dealing with public agencies,” he said.
Even students headed to careers other than journalism — communications, public relations, law, consulting, marketing or health care — will learn the importance of holding government officials accountable to the citizens they promise to serve.
American journalists at news outlets across the country have worked, even thrived, during difficult times, and the pandemic-era is no exception. See some of the work Chapman student journalists have produced during the 2019-20 academic year.
The partnership also strengthens Wilkinson College’s diversity, inclusion and tolerance initiative since it seeks to draw as many student journalists as possible from diverse backgrounds. Those voices are much needed to reflect the changing demographics of Orange County, the state and the nation.
While the Voice of OC partnership attracts students completing a BA in English and/or journalism minor, students from other concentrations, programs, and majors can enroll in the classes offering opportunities to report, write and publish on the Voice of OC news site. Students earning the BA in English with the Literature, Rhetoric, and Cultural Studies areas of study or the BFA in Creative Writing can take journalism classes as part of their required course of study.
Learn more about the journalism program. Have questions about the program? Write to Journalism Program Director Susan Paterno at firstname.lastname@example.org, English Department Chair Joanna Levin at email@example.com or professor Vik Jolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.