SAN MARCOS – California State University at San Marcos’ (CSUSM) campus newspaper, The Cougar Chronicle, recently released its first edition of the semester featuring a variety of stories that directly impact students, faculty and staff, and members of the San Marcos community.
The paper’s first edition features stories from a staff of roughly 30 students. Some of those topics include a controversial freedom-of-speech issue that recently arose on campus, the theater department’s plan to offer virtual performances, a student selling earrings to raise more than $500 for Black organizations and more.
This semester looks very different from others for The Cougar Chronicle, according to the paper’s editor-in-chief, Anneliese Esparza.
Esparza, a 22-year-old senior and Literature & Writing major, joined the newspaper during her junior year at CSUSM.
She told The Coast News that they are facing some unique challenges this semester as a result of the university’s decision to move to completely virtual learning to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s been a little bit challenging to reach a wide enough audience without our print edition… and not having print is making selling advertising more challenging, as well,” Esparza said. “We’re pushing it through our social media… we’re sending out emails to heads of departments, city council, chamber of commerce, etc. to try to get the word out. We also have an announcement in our school’s weekly communications email that goes to all students, faculty and staff.”
Esparza added that the staff has also launched a new YouTube channel to be able to tell visual stories, as well.
“It’s also exciting to see the new staff writers take off,” Esparza said. “We’ve already had a couple of new people that are starting to thrive and learn how to write compelling journalism stories, so we’re excited to see them continue to grow.”
Kent Davy, who has been the faculty advisor for the newspaper since 2014, also noted the changes that he and the staff have been grappling with, including having to reformat staff meetings to include a journalism boot camp class that he used to teach separately, but is now canceled.
Nonetheless, Davy said he is excited for what this semester will bring and is already blown away by the staff’s work.
“My hope with this semester and every semester is that, with each edition, that I see growth in their ability to report and cover news, that the quality of their writing improves and the quality of their editing improves,” Davy said.
The Cougar Chronicle is available online at CSUSMChronicle.com.