El Camino College’s motto is “Where You Belong.” where you succeed. This implies that everyone who attends college can feel a sense of belonging and a space where they can be free to succeed. However, where we have succeeded in The Union, we still feel like we don’t belong.
Serving the El Camino College community since 1946, The Union strives to be a comprehensive publication that not only reports on current events, but also on the aspects of this college that make it a must-visit place. Nevertheless, it means that we will report information that is newsworthy and important to the community.
The publication believes in airing our criticisms and encourages those who criticize our practices to air those grievances. The union would suggest our detractors sit face to face with staff to put a person behind a signature name.
Throughout this semester, a common problem facing The Union has been our lack of access to information that we believe should be released, whether by administration, faculty, staff or students.
One such example is the hurdles the Union faced when trying to cover the El Camino Covid task force and the decisions that stem from their meetings. Access to the meeting and finding members willing to speak publicly proved difficult for The Union.
When it was created, the task force was supposed to be a response to the then-unknown virus that caused the college to close for two weeks.
But two weeks turned into two years, and the walls still prevent the public from commenting on the issues they face daily at El Camino College.
That’s not the only hurdle the Union faced, many journalists experienced a lack of access to sources who were unwilling to speak unless Kerri Webb, director of public information and government relations, is present.
Although Webb’s expertise is appreciated and useful to The Union, she is just one person who takes on a lot of work. It is unreasonable to expect Webb to accompany every source our reporters have an interest in speaking with.
A good example in which The Union was successful was scheduling an in-person meeting with Academic Senate President Darcie McClelland and Secretary Maria Garcia to create a more transparent understanding of how The Union operates.
During the chat, McClelland and Gracia explained to The Union how they operate as an entity serving the faculty of El Camino College on academic and professional matters.
Academic Senate representatives worked with The Union to set up the most mutually beneficial way for journalists to attend meetings and request information that could ultimately help our reporting.
Community members want to know when specific events are happening on campus before they happen in a meeting. The Union needs the help of our collegiate leaders to dig deeper and provide a more accurate perspective.
To enable The Union to better serve the public, we encourage administration to meet with staff in the press room and communicate the best ways to obtain access and information. It’s not just about journalists, but about the community having access to elected officials.