Over the weekend, several statements were released on personal and OCCC Pioneer social media channels about the state of The Pioneer, OCCC’s long-standing, award-winning newspaper. Many of these statements were untrue, exaggerated or led readers to false conclusions concerning the state of The Pioneer and the motives for the decisions that were made. We’d like to briefly clarify what’s happening in an effort to eliminate any confusion.
Last week, Vice President of Academic Affairs Vince Bridges notified The Pioneer’s faculty adviser that a Professor of Journalism position would be posted. This position, long requested by the Division of Arts, English, and Humanities, included the responsibility of overseeing The Pioneer, and had been frozen due to budget constraints over the last year, but has now been unfrozen and can be hired in time for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021.
The Pioneer staff, some of whom graduate next week, were already promised by the faculty adviser that they would be paid through the end of the fiscal year, and we plan to honor that commitment.
When a new journalism professor is hired, that individual will be responsible for overseeing The Pioneer, assembling its advisory council, and determining the appropriate path for the paper, all with the aim of ensuring students are prepared to enter the workforce, well-equipped with the independence and ethics of great journalists.
No part of this decision was made based on the coverage of past or current events, administrators or preferences for what The Pioneer is, could or should be.
We are eager and excited to welcome a new Professor of Journalism into our community, and to see what the professor envisions for The Pioneer. We thank The Pioneer’s existing staff and faculty adviser for their hard work, dedication to independence and integrity, and perseverance during a trying time. They have done award-winning work all of us celebrate.