Cal Poly Humboldt student journalists cover the pro-Palestinian protests firsthand

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Outside of our newsroom here on Humboldt Hill, student journalists had firsthand coverage of the Cal Poly Humboldt protest and occupation.

From the radio waves to headlines and across social media, the Humboldt journalism students made sure to get the word out to viewers and readers alike.

On the radio, Kianna Znika, station manager of KRFH 105.1, covered the protest live on air and into the early hours of Tuesday as the occupation ramped up.

“I feel just very proud of all the work that we’ve done this week. We out in a lot of hours and this was very new to krfh. I’m just very proud of my team, the dedication, the work and commitment,” Znika said.

Those at KRFH wore press helmets and vests as they continued to report on the ever-changing situation.

Because of the live nature of the reporting, the community also played a part in the news.

“Honestly, the people sending in updates were a part of the efforts to make sure we were getting updated and sending factual accurate information,” Znikka said. “Overall, we were also getting emails, DMs, people calling in and saying thank you for providing coverage and even asking if there was anything they could do to help.”

For the team at El Leñador, the news of the police coming to campus hit after taking a class photo.

“We got the email about Siemens Hall being closed. We just decided to go check it out with some cameras and watch it all unfold like that we police all over the county up in riot gear. It felt unprecedented, it felt surreal to watch it unfold,” El Leñador’s editor-in-chief Peyton Leone said.

El Leñador is the only bilingual newspaper in the county. Journalists were able to deliver updates in Spanish as it happened.

“I remember being on live and there was lots of people in Spanish asking what’s going on. I just know that so many family members at home who are watching this through media and they’re seeing just pure violence and not getting the story from the source on the ground. Us being able to give that information gave them a little bit of peace.” El Leñador reporter Jordan Pangeline said.

“There’s not only a growing Spanish-speaking population in Humboldt, but as well, as a large community of Spanish speaking on campus. Many of their parents can’t read the emails sent in English. I think it was really important for our news to give updates and translate them,” El Leñador’s social media manager Jacquelin Espinoza said.

Along with them was the weekly college paper, the lumberjack, with one of our reporters pulling double for redwood news.

“Our plan was to be out of the action but still capture the action. Mark McKenna, one of our instructors, was saying to be ten arms length away from what’s going on. We all had zoom lenses. We all were able to stay in a safe position but cover what was happening,” The Lumberjack and Redwood News Reporter Savana Robinson said

Part of that safety plan was covering the protest with a buddy. Savana’s buddy was the editor-in-chief of the lumberjack.

“We’re a pretty small staff. The arcata high pepperbox has a way bigger staff than we do,” The Lumberjack’s editor-in-chief Griffin Mancuso said. “We were trying to cover a lot of ground with not a lot of people, but definitely making sure we had a lot of our ground covered. We learned a lot about reporting boots to the ground.”

And their coverage will be something to take with them into the next phase of their careers.

“I never saw myself as a radio news reporter. And now, after this experience, I am a radio news reporter. I felt so much that I was doing what I was meant to be doing,” Znika said. “I was so involved with the community, and again I love the community so much so. Just finding my place in the community has been very fulfilling.”

The Lumberjack and El Leñador continue to be in production with the final issue of The Lumberjack out now.

KRFH 105.1 continues to broadcast into the summer covering the Kinetic Sculpture Race during Memorial Day Weekend.