Riverside City College journalism exhibit

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The 100-year history of student journalism at Riverside City College is celebrated in a special exhibit currently on view at the college’s Digital Library and Learning Resource Center.

The exhibit features dozens of photos of staff members and student newspaper articles from 1916, the college’s first year, to the present. Also on display are many full pages of the current, award-winning student newspaper, Viewpoints.

Titled “RCC Student Journalism, A Century of Excellence,” it extends over a large area of the Digital Library’s second floor lobby. It is open to the public and will remain on view until May 19.

Created by RCC’s journalism program director, Allan Lovelace, and Jane Patton Edelman, the exhibit spotlights the high quality of student journalism from the college’s earliest years.

Edelman is the daughter of the journalism program’s founder, Robert L. Patton, who began teaching English at what was then Riverside Junior College, in 1931. Patton founded the journalism program the same year, and became adviser of the student newspaper, the Arroyo, and the yearbook, “Tequesquite.” He also launched and advised a student literary magazine, “Student Varieties.” He remained adviser of the student newspaper for 20 years, and of the yearbook until 1956, when he accepted an administrative post with the Riverside City Schools.

During his 25-year tenure at RCC, Patton was also a night-time staff reporter and relief city editor at The Press-Enterprise. After leaving the college, he continued his association with The Press-Enterprise, writing dozens of feature articles on a broad range of topics well into the 1960s.

A theme that runs through the RCC student journalism exhibit is the degree to which young writers, editors and photographers have fought for the right to report the news as they saw it, and to express their opinions freely in editorials and cartoons. At times they locked horns with college administrators, who objected in particular to articles and editorials about sometimes controversial events in the world at large.

In 1961, two RCC student newspaper editors resigned from their positions to demonstrate their strong feelings about press freedom for college reporters. Three weeks later, ironically, the paper won a first place award in a national competition for student newspapers.

Today’s RCC student newspaper, Viewpoints, continues this tradition of independence. Mentored by Lovelace, who has been the paper’s adviser since 1996, Viewpoint editors and reporters through the years have pursued stories about social, political, educational and environmental issues both on and off campus. Expanding at a rapid pace to include not only print, but also online, video, podcasting and social media, the newspaper has won hundreds of state and national awards.

Graduates of the RCC journalism program have worked at newspapers, magazines, university publications, public information offices, state and U.S. Senate offices and the Washington, D.C. White House photography office.