By Ken Epstein
Fremont High School in East Oakland has shut down its award winning school newspaper, the “Green & Gold,” which has been training young writers and reporting school news for past 104 years.
“We are working off a limited budget – We received a substantial cut in funds and personnel,” Principal Emiliano Sanchez told Green & Gold staff reporter Nelia Mungia, as reported in the June 10 edition of the newspaper.
The newspaper is produced by Fremont’s Media Academy, which pays for printing costs but not the adviser.
Next year, the school will no longer offer the newspaper production class. The major cost to the school is paying for one teacher to work on the paper for two class periods during the school’s eight-period day.
“That is crazy and stupid because we (have had) the Green & Gold for a while, wrote one junior on the paper’s staff. “I think we should have a newspaper because then everybody (is) going to know what is going to happen.”
The Post contacted Oakland Unified School District administration to ask if OUSD is going to find the money to save the newspaper.
According to district spokesman Troy Flint, “OUSD’s central office staff only recently became aware of the decision to shutter the Green & Gold and will evaluate it to see if other options are available within the confines of the school budget and district finances in general.”
“No outcome is certain at this point, but a full review will be conducted in the next few week,” said Flint.
When the school’s Media Academy was at its height, students produced nine issues a year. Over the years, the prerequisite classes for working as part of the newspaper staff have been eliminated. Classes in basic reporting skills and digital newspaper layout and design were cut.
In the past two years, students and their advisor put out three issues year.
According to Green & Gold writer Quenajonay Frazier, the newspaper has made a difference in her education.
“The newspaper is one of the main reasons why people on the newspaper (staff) got good grades in English,” she said.
“It also helps with the community,” she continued. “People get to know more about the school.”
Frazier said she decided to join the Media Academy “because I am into writing.”
“And I got better,” she said. “I wasn’t very good at grammar, but the teacher took the time to help me.”
Some people at the school point out that student enrollment in the class has been low in recent years.
But according to the program’s defenders, media is important, and writing is important. They admit student enrollment has declined, but argue that the decline is mostly a reflection of the cuts that little by little reduced the program to only one poorly funded production class.
Courtesy of the Oakland Post, July 5, 2015 (postnewsgroup.com)