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

To the Express

Rose Vega, Express editor-in-chief, poses in front of the Tower Bridge in Old Sacramento Friday, May 15, 2020. (Sara Nevis/[email protected])

I had just turned 19 when I stumbled onto the Express in the spring of 2017. I had spent the previous semester feeling a little lost, taking classes as a English major, unsure of everything I was doing. But it was also during this time that I got an internship as a neighborhood news correspondent for Accesslocal.TV, and my journey into journalism began. 

I’ve loved to tell stories ever since I was little, and as I got older, I dreamed of putting that storytelling to use as an author. A career in journalism had never crossed my mind until I started writing for the Express. In that first semester as a staff writer, I didn’t feel as lost anymore, and I decided to change my major from English to journalism. Writing had always been an outlet for me, but now I was writing about other people. I was giving their stories a voice, and it felt like I had a purpose.

Due to some unexpected medical issues I didn’t come back to the paper the following semester but returned in full force in spring 2018. That semester I also joined City College’s print magazine, Mainline. Yet I was starting to feel like maybe journalism wasn’t right for me, and despite my love of reporting and writing, I started to doubt myself. I felt that I wasn’t good enough and perhaps I had made the wrong decision to switch majors.

So in the fall of 2018, I didn’t sign up for the Express but instead thought I’d write one more story for Mainline and call it quits. That wasn’t in the cards for me, though, as I was talked back into the Express as the features editor for spring 2019. Suddenly, that feeling I had when I first joined the Express returned, and I was excited about contributing to the paper that had sparked my joy for writing. 

The print edition of the Express came out monthly, and a large part of our time as editors was spent in the windowed computer lab on the second floor of the Student Services building. We’d sometimes spend many hours and often work late into the nights helping edit, design, edit again and put the print paper together. But in between the scribbling of em dashes and quotation marks, we spent time getting to know each other and becoming a better team because of it. 

Being an editor also gave me the opportunity to help other student journalists. I would often spend time in the Express class and usually afterward going over an article with a student, sometimes taking an hour or more, reading line by line until it was ready. All the time spent with that student would be worth it because the next time I would go to edit a revision of that story, it would be better, and by the end of the semester that student would be a stronger, more confident writer—just as I had gotten better after others looked at my work. 

It happened that during my time as a college reporter and editor, journalism was changing everywhere—at City College, too. I didn’t know it then, but I was a part of the last staff of the print version of Mainline magazine. And though the Express was also an online publication, as my time as features editor came to a close, we learned that there would no longer be a monthly print edition of the Express. As I returned to City College as co-editor-in-chief for fall 2019, our 98-year-old newspaper turned into an all-online news site. 

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Now, at almost 23 years old, I’m the editor-in-chief of the Express, and it’s time for me to graduate. This fall I head to Sacramento State as a journalism major to continue my journey. However, this isn’t exactly how I expected my final semester on the Express to go.  

On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. So that day in the Express class, instead of doing our regular routine, we sent out the staff, writers and photographers alike, to go out on campus and get reactions to the news that the college might close for the semester.  Fifteen student journalists got quotes and photos from many people, returned to our journalism lab and Express webmaster Ben Irwin and I wrote the story and got it online within 90 minutes. 

As we expected, the next day, Thursday, March 12, the Los Rios Community College District announced that all face-to-face classes would be suspended, and all campuses would close due to COVID-19. We didn’t know how long the campus would be closed, whether it would be a month or the rest of the semester. As of last week we reported the news that all Los Rios colleges will continue to be closed through the summer and fall terms.

It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve continued to meet twice a week on Zoom, teaching the budding student journalists who make up our staff and getting stories and photos online almost daily.   

The Express is more than a newspaper to me; it’s a place where I found my voice, where I found my passion. I didn’t become a reporter overnight. I had advisers and colleagues to teach, guide and support me through it all. 

The Express is not a one-person show; it takes a team of dedicated individuals to keep the reporting, photography and news site going. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to work with truly inspiring people who have put their time, energy and hearts into the Express. I leave the Express as part of one of the most talented editorial teams that has not only been great editors but become my great friends, too. 

There isn’t just one single moment that has made my time on the Express memorable; it has been a collection of laughs, chats, headaches and hard work that I’ll remember most. 

After five semesters, countless stories, hours of editing and late nights, it’s hard to say goodbye to a place—once physical, now virtual—that has been like a second home. But I leave knowing the story will go on. 

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    Peggy PriceMay 26, 2020 at 4:28 am

    The unknown lies ahead in your virtual education world and your bravery facing it is palpable, Rose. As a member of the Express staff 1997-99, I wish you well. You are fortunate to have a firm foundation for your future—not just with your experience, but your relationships. I believe that inclusive teamwork will produce a better society. Then, too, you’ll always have Jan Haag as a faithful touchstone of that reality. Best personal regards to you, m’dear from a near octogenarian!

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    Anna RichMay 25, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Incredible journey and I love your story. It is true that our path is not always certain and sometimes we just get lucky. Congratulations on your successes and all that you aspire to do. You’re stronger than what you think you are.

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    Cynthia VegaMay 25, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Your story is so uplifting in these trying times. It is so wonderful to read that the world is still turning and that beautiful young people are still pushing and learning and honing themselves to face the future and determine their place in it. Like everyone, you have weights pulling on you trying to stop you from climbing but remember that if it’s too easy it is probably not worth doing. I’m so proud of you.