Seattle Central Community College student newspaper returns
The New City Collegian, an independent newspaper by Seattle Central Community College students, returned to print this week.
Seattle Times higher education reporter
Ending a four-year absence, a feisty little newspaper written by Seattle Central Community College students returned to print this week, after living only online for the past two years.
"WE'RE BACK!" trumpeted the headline on the front page of the New City Collegian.
On Tuesday evening, the Collegian staff met outside the college's Broadway Performance Hall to celebrate the printed paper. Executive editor Sebastian Garrett-Singh beamed as he handed out copies to staffers who had spent many long hours breathing new life into the publication.
For now, this edition was a one-time return to print for the independent college newspaper. But Garrett-Singh hopes to print at least once more over the summer quarter, then try to make enough money through advertising and student-activity fees to print biweekly, or even weekly, in the fall.
For all the promise of a wired world, it turns out that print still resonates for these college students. Although the Collegian's blog-style website has attracted about 15,000 page views so far this year, Garrett-Singh said, students still yearned to see their work in print.
"Good job, man. So proud. Is it still warm?" asked student Gryphon MacThoy, reaching out to take a copy. MacThoy's front-page story was a rant (his word) about college expenditures that seemed wasteful and extravagant in a time of rising tuition rates.
"I am really, really happy with this," said student Liam Wright. "One of the things that's really been missing on this campus is a real news source."
Wright contributed a story on changes to free-speech rules on campus, and also spent 20 hours working with a design program to turn stories from the Collegian's blog into a 12-page tabloid.
The college's official news magazine is the monthly, student-funded Central Circuit, but New City Collegian staffers say it doesn't have enough room for all student submissions, and lacks the edgier, more combative voice of the New City Collegian.
The newspaper printing was funded by Cupcake Royale, at an undisclosed cost.
"It's old school," said Jody Hall, owner and founder of the cupcake shop. "Like going back to vinyl. People miss holding a paper." Hall said she would contribute to a printed version again, although no contract has been worked out.
The paper's predecessor, the City Collegian, had a 40-year publication history. It shut down in November 2008 after a dispute between its staff and the college's administration. At the time, the college said it had to close the paper because its faculty adviser Jeb Wyman resigned.
Wyman said he resigned because administrators tried to rein in the paper and muzzle free speech.
Now, he's serving as the informal adviser to the New City Collegian. "Mostly, they (students) tell me what they're writing about, and I might give them advice, like, 'You really should have a verb in that headline,' " he said.
"They are young, idealistic and have a real intuitive sense of news value," he added. He believes the electronic version of the paper did the best job of any news organization in Seattle covering Occupy Seattle's encampment at SCCC last fall.
This week's issue continues that coverage by raising questions about how much the Occupy encampment cost SCCC, with the paper claiming that internal documents showed the price for five weeks of extra security was about $8,000. The administration has said it cost about $10,000 to $20,000 a week.
SCCC President Paul Killpatrick said both the New City Collegian and the Central Circuit offer students opportunities to participate in discourse on a variety of issues.
"Certainly, Seattle Central students have historically been very actively engaged in student activities and learning opportunities — and this is a great example of that tradition continuing," he said by email.
On Tuesday, Garrett-Singh and the rest of the staff handed out the paper at 10 p.m., a deliberate poke at the administration's recent decision to prohibit free-speech activities on campus after 10 p.m.
Garrett-Singh said the group has formed a "New City Collegian" club on campus and is trying to get official recognition and contributions from the administration to keep printing. In other words, to quote Garrett-Singh's kicker for his front-page story: "We're back, and we're not going anywhere."
Information from The Seattle Times archive was included in this report.
Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @katherinelong.