May 26, 2017

Letter to the editor: Holly Heyser

Dr. Nelsen:

I’ve never been a fan of people who leave a job but continue to butt into its business, but what’s happening to The State Hornet compels me to speak up.

As the former faculty adviser to (and much longer ago, news editor of) the Hornet, I can assure you that being centrally located is vital to the newspaper’s ability to respond quickly to news. That’s important for a professional newspaper, but doubly important for a student newspaper, where reporters’ and editors’ time at the office often lasts only as long their breaks between classes.

I can’t tell you how many times I watched my students bolt out of the newsroom when something was happening, take photos and video, do interviews, then run back to the office to get a story online, or into the print edition. Sometimes the only reason a reporter was there and available in the first place was because the newsroom was centrally located, and it was a place to hang out and get work done between classes.

Regardless of whatever you might think of the Hornet, it provides one of the best academic experiences on campus because it provides authentic work experience – those students’ coursework gets published. Moving the Hornet to the Pluto of Sac State diminishes the authenticity of that experience. And it will absolutely hobble the students’ ability to respond quickly to news.

I don’t know what went on behind closed doors in the making of the decision to move the Hornet to Folsom Hall. For all I know, it was completely innocent, though it’s worth noting your predecessor tried to get me to move the Hornet to Folsom Hall not long after the university acquired it. (I said no thanks.)

But it sure looks like you’re trying to hobble your student-run newspaper, and even if that’s not your intent, that will be the outcome. That makes my alma mater look bad, and I don’t like it when my alma mater looks bad. I urge you to look for an alternative solution that shows more respect for the press and the incredible learning experience that is The State Hornet.

Best regards,

Holly A. Heyser

Editor, California Waterfowl Magazine

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