The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Keeping up with the electronic times

The Express Stock Photo

Print media has come a long way since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 600 years ago, setting off the age of mass media.

Today the market for paperless digital media is ever-growing, but these advances in technology come with growing pains, too.

In recent years an alarming number of print publications, including newspaper organizations, are dramatically cutting their staffs as print publications are expensive to produce, according to Randy Allen, a former Sacramento Bee picture editor, who now teaches photography and media capture classes at City College.

To remain relevant to prospective journalism students, Professor Dianne Heimer of the journalism department at City College spearheaded the development of Journalism 406 —Online Production.

“It became clear several years ago that journalism was moving away from print and more to the Internet,” said Heimer, a former writer and editor for Sacramento magazine.

Five years ago, Heimer said, she took a sabbatical and researched colleges teaching online media. Heimer saw UC Berkeley as a model of where journalism was going, so she began designing the first online newspaper curriculum in the Los Rios district.

“We have always had a reputation since the 1930s as the best community college journalism program in the district, and I didn’t want that legacy to die,” said Heimer.

In fall 2009, the Online Production class became a part of the journalism curriculum. The course gives students at City College hands-on experience contributing online content for, the digital incarnation of the campus newspaper, the Express. The site generates new content daily.

The course addresses digital photography, digital video, podcasts and web design as part of the curriculum. According to Heimer, Online Production is meant to prepare journalism students to work in multimedia environments.
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Robert Small and Stephanie Rodriguez, former students in the Online Production class, both work as journalists in Sacramento. Small contributes to the online website,

com, and Rodriguez, a former news editor for Online Production, writes for the Sacramento News & Review.

“We have to train our journalism students in the skills and the market they will be encountering when they get out and that world they will be encountering is online media,” said Heimer.

City College student and journalism major Kimberly Nguyen said she believes that journalists are working in transitional times.

“I think today when it comes to journalism, students not only need to know AP style, grammar and have impeccable writing skills to get hired, now they’re looking to see if you can make your website look great. That just goes to show where journalism is going,” said Nguyen, the online editor for

Randy Allen, a 15-year veteran of The Sacramento Bee and former Express newspaper student, also serves as an adviser for Online Production with Heimer.

“It’s so hard to know [what will become of print media]. Nobody can guess,” said Allen. “It’s fascinating to watch this giant change happening and to be part of this change in many ways.”

Allen spearheaded the idea to showcase a new picture every day by a student photographer that tells a story about City College on the Express’ website called “Oh, Snap!” Allen said these images are good for both the campus and the student body.

“It generates interest where they want to look at the site to see if it’s someone they know, someone they’ve seen on campus,” he said. “Anything that causes someone to look at the website is what we want.”

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