Apr 22, 2020
At the end of the week, 6,400 Humboldt State students will get a gift from campus in their mailboxes – special editions of El Leñador and The Lumberjack student newspapers, along with the Associated Students sample ballot. The message? At HSU, the student press is alive and well.
“While the rest of the world is on pause, classes are still happening,” El Leñador Editor-in-Chief Carlos Holguin said. “News is happening. It’s up to us, as journalists, to keep our community informed.”
Though a few hundred HSU students remain on campus, the majority returned to homes around the state in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area. Others hail from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Hawaii.
Lumberjack Editor-in-Chief James Wilde said putting together a mailing of this scale gave student journalists an important goal.
“I think putting together a publication to mail directly to every Humboldt State student would almost be like a dream come true, if it weren’t for the pandemic,” Wilde said. “But it’s not just the larger audience that makes this feel just a little bit more important than the usual publication. Times are tough everywhere right now, so I think we’re all hoping that sending students a little piece of their Humboldt State home, filled with some important news updates and engaging escapes, can brighten a few students’ days.”
Student media makers are also spread far and wide, attending editorial meetings via Zoom from faraway places like Huntington Beach and Santa Rosa. Reporters sheltering in place covered stories in innovative ways. Photographers and artists rose to the challenge of illustrating remotely produced publications.
El Leñador advisor Andrea Juarez said the staff of HSU’s bilingual publication has been able to continue to enjoy camaraderie online as a staff, and especially as student journalists.
“They’ve found comfort coming together, so they could continue to report and tell stories that matter,” Juarez said. “One thing that this pandemic has underscored is the value of news. El Leñador staff are excited their English and Spanish newspaper will reach HSU students near and far through this mail out.”
HSU Journalism chair Victoria Sama lauded students who contributed to this project.
“Kudos to our student journalists who continue to provide the essential service of journalism during these challenging times of coronavirus,” Sama said. “Our student media makers have shown great passion and leadership in producing stories of importance to our Humboldt and neighboring communities while also trying to navigate the safety and food security of their own lives.”
Holguin said he’s impressed by the efforts of student media makers.
“I am proud of my team,” he said. “Everyone on staff, from student to volunteers. They’re nothing short of amazing. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Holguin also appreciated the collaborative effort of HSU’s two student newspapers.
“Working with the Lumberjack to get papers out shows our community effort,” Holguin said. “We’re stepping up together and sending a unified message. We’re still standing.”