Delta Collegian staffers find their words

By Noah Erickson

Shima 204 is headquarters to San Joaquin Delta College’s award-winning newspaper. It is home to the reporters, writers and editors of The Collegian, which is made is of students enrolled in MCOM 11 and MCOM 12 courses.

A lot goes into writing stories and editing pages of the newspaper for production. Students pitch stories about what’s going on in the community, which then go through a vetting process. Students pick stories to cover and go out to report on them.

“The nerd-based ones, those are my favorite,” said senior staff member Jasmine Gonzalez. “I just feel like, when you’re really close to the story you put that much more effort to doing this … you have this passion into it to get it right.”

These stories can be anything from drag queen shows to local sporting events. Reporting includes: going to events, getting pictures (if you’re a photojournalist) and conducting interviews.

Students do research to find contacts to interview, then reach out and set up a time and place. Reporters have to come up with open-ended questions to ask the subjects of their interviews in order to get good information for stories. But reporting isn’t as easy as going out and asking questions.

Each reporter faces a similar anxiety.

It takes some courage to go out, talk to people and focus on finding good information for the paper. For example, feature editor and reporter Tyra Green finds interviewing challenging because she is shy.

“I don’t like to put myself out there a lot, but then I kinda just make myself do it or my friends make me do it,” said Green.

Finding time in their schedule is another challenge student reporters face.

Though they are reporters, they are still students and have other classes to worry about.

“I always try to get a head start. I make calls and stuff … I do a lot of phone interviews, too,” said Catlan Nguyen, editor in chief of The Collegian.

After reporting, the staff begins writing stories using information discovered.  

Writing also includes finding quotes to emphasize the points that need to be made.

As with reporting, writing comes with its own set of challenges.

“Finding the right words,” said Green, when asked about the most challenging part of writing. “Sometimes you get caught up trying to make the story perfect and just trying to make everything flow together.”  

Being part of The Collegian is not easy, but there is always help.

Associate professor Tara Cuslidge-Staiano and multimedia technician Matt Wilson, along with senior staff members are always there to help students do the best that they can. Cuslidge-Staiano and Wilson both have experiences in newswriting and what goes into a good newspaper.

Green said she “got a lot of help from Tara on my page design and then it kinda like, made me think of more ideas for my next issue I get to work on.”

Cuslidge-Staiano is an inspiration to many students, including Gonzalez. Gonzalez describes her professor as “a strong woman already … she is very honest with you. You want her to tell you your story needs something, you want her to edit it because, she’s the only one that could cut it down and tell you what it needs, what it’s missing.”

After reporting, writing, page layout, and much editing, is all done, the paper goes gets printed and goes out to the public six times a semester.

You can find The Collegian around campus in the five newspaper kiosks. You can also find stories from the paper at

(Editor’s note: This story was produced in a class instructed by Tara Cuslidge-Staiano, who also advises The Collegian.)