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24 Feb

Adapting and Achieving: HCC Student Media in the Time of COVID

By Alva Blair
Senior Staff Writer and Editor, Horizons

Think of an octopus – one central mass with eight arms that think and act independently; its movements a brilliantly choreographed dance. When presented with a challenge, the dance doesn’t falter; the movements merely adjust. That scenario depicts the operations of the team that created the spring 2021 issue of Horizons magazine.Prior to COVID-19, we would all be in the same space, the HCC campus. Communications students, photographers, graphic and digital designers would come to class(es) under the guidance of our intrepid leader, Professor Steve Mark. But then the pandemic hit.

“My first thoughts were about how to preserve the strong working relationships we’d already created,” he said. And when the students, most of whom had never taken a virtual class, found out, we wondered “how would we do it?”

Professor Mark quickly strategized. “I immediately set up live sessions so we could keep our momentum going and focused on finding ways to keep us connected,” he said.

Teams, WebEx, Google Docs, Blackboard discussion boards, Flipgrid, emails to Prof. Mark at midnight and on the weekends, text messages between classmates for help or just to bounce ideas around. The work didn’t stop; we simply adjusted.

I remember resenting Prof for “forcing” me to learn new ways of connecting and getting the work done. Do I have to use them? I’d whine. Yes, he’d tell me. Yes, if we want to get the work done. My classmates and I adjusted.

So, all the arms of the central mass that is Publications I, II and HUM, Photography, and Graphic and Digital Design, virtually choreographed a dance like never before. Whether it was finding sources and conducting interviews via Teams, telephone or email, or typing papers in our Notes app on our phones, or risking taking the bus to use the computer lab, we didn’t allow the challenges to impede our progress.

Rookie reporter Jania Jones, reflects. “When I think back on the process in which I had to write those pieces I remember how I struggled on certain parts and to see it now complete and finalized makes me feel very proud.”=

And we take pride in bringing to our HCC community and friends beyond campus our first completely remotely produced Horizons magazine, featuring a wide range of subjects, including Me, Myself and I in Quarantine, BLM: The Hypocrisy of White Liberal Allies, Defining the Stereotypical Male, Birth Control: Who Should be Held Accountable, and Sugar Cookies for the Winter.

“I’m proud,” says Professor Mark, “not just of the final product, but of the resilience and creativity we all demonstrated, of the ways we all stepped up to learn and implement new ways of doing things, of how seriously the staff took their responsibility to the community...We now have a tangible record of what it was like for us to live and learn through this time that students and professors will be able to look at years from now.”

You can download a copy and turn the pages at https://issuu.com/hcchorizons/docs/horizons_spring2021_final_issu__lowres_