by Jennifer Gross
Less than 20 years ago, the University of La Verne had no formal journalism program. Also, the Campus Times was run by the Associated Student Federation (ASF) Forum. In 1976, a change occurred that altered the face of the Campus Times forever.
Her name was Dr. Esther Davis. She was an extraordinary lady with a strong background in journalism who, according to Gary Colby, associate professor of photography and past adviser to the Campus Times, “established the matrix by which we teach journalism today.”
Davis, along with former ULV President Armen Sarafian, wanted to start a journalism department. She thought a campus newspaper was the best workshop idea for journalism students and that the Campus Times should be the central program of the journalism department.
But because the Campus Times was funded by ASF, a conflict of interest occurred.
“If funded by ASF, then it’s likely to be controlled by ASF,” said Colby. “It (ASF) should have some say but a college lab should be free with its budget and ideas.”
Dr. George Keeler, associate professor of journalism, was also a part of what he calls “the revolution of modern journalism” at ULV.
At the time, Dr. Keeler was a junior at ULV majoring in government and music. He was chairperson pro-tem of ASF and also a Campus Times staff member. He ended up dropping government and graduated a year late in 1977 with a journalism degree.
Because Dr. Keeler was a part of both ASF and the Campus Times, a greater conflict of interest occurred.
“We needed the Campus Times in control of journalism, not the student government,” said Dr. Keeler. “We could not operate the paper with student government in control.”
The proposal was that all Campus Times monies be transferred into one central account, taking the money out of ASF’s hands. Then all Campus Times monies would be under control of the Campus Times business manager.
Once the paper went on its own, many changes occurred.
“The paper became a lot better on its own,” said Colby. “It became a consistent publication.”
The paper also became more professional. According to Dr. Keeler, the Campus Times became standard size, it was published weekly, the writing style improved and it achieved high ethical standards. It also developed a Code of Ethics that Dr. Keeler wrote.