By Bari Cohn
Mira Costa Principal Dr. Ben Dale plans to combine the Mustang Morning News, La Vista and Hoofprints Yearbook under the All Media Arts Department beginning next school year.
Current Mustang Morning News advisor Michael Hernandez will chair the new department. Art teacher Valerie Park will continue to advise Hoofprints Yearbook, and English teachers Alan Zeoli and Lindsey Valbuena will advise La Vista. Hernandez will continue teaching broadcast journalism.
“We need to have an integrative program that provides growth, and we have been doing the same three types of media for years,” Dale said. “By giving them their own department and providing them the resources to grow, they can expand.”
Photos: All Media Department
Hernandez has taught broadcast journalism, cinematic arts and photography at Costa for 18 years. He won the 2014 National Broadcast Advisor of the Year through the Journalism Education Association.
“I feel very keyed into what is happening in the nation and what other publications are doing,” Hernandez said. “I see other programs doing innovative things, whether that is converging print with social media and video or offering multiple publications.”
The school hopes to improve the Media Department as a whole within a united department, Dale said. By grouping the media electives together, Hernandez believes that they’ll be more streamlined, as they’ll attend similar conventions, share guest speakers and host lunches to bolster communication, he said. Students in all three electives, however, have voiced concerns regarding these changes.
“I think that the All Media Department is not a good idea at all,” Hoofprints Yearbook editor-in-chief and junior Emma Goad said. “We have already built such a strong base in each elective that just to tear it down and start over would have such a negative outcome for students.”
Additionally, in the 2018-19 school year, incoming freshmen will be required to take four semester-long introductory classes before they join one of the three electives, as proposed under Dale’s current plan. According to a La Vista survey of 179 students currently enrolled in one of the school’s three media electives, 62% of respondents believes that the proposed introductory course program will negatively impact their individual programs.
“Change is scary because we aren’t sure what to expect, because it’s always easier to follow our own ways,” Hernandez said. “Change is positive when it benefits our students and journalism programs. If we believe in the role journalism plays in society, then why wouldn’t we want to work together?”