North San Diego County colleges end student newspaper print editions

Palomar program, CSU San Marcos go fully online; MiraCosta student publication on hiatus


Newspapers. (Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash)

Roman S. Koenig

The leading institutions of higher education in North San Diego County are all without printed student news publications as of Wednesday, Oct. 12, ending a nearly 80-year tradition in the region.

Palomar College’s student news adviser announced Wednesday that The Telescope, the journalism program’s award-winning student-run newspaper, has ceased publication in print. But it’s not the end of The Telescope. The San Marcos college’s journalism program continues the newspaper as a fully active publication online.

The announcement comes less than a week after local community newspapers were left scrambling to find a printer after the last company capable of handling such production in San Diego was sold and then declined to print them.

MiraCosta College’s student newspaper, The Chariot, halted all activity after the spring semester.

“We are on hiatus until further notice,” the Oceanside community college’s student news website states.

At California State University San Marcos, the Cougar Chronicle continues to publish online after ceasing print editions as of this fall.

“The Cougar Chronicle has ceased print publication,” a rolling banner across the student news site’s front page states. “We will be moving to an online-focused model until further notice.”

While the student staff list of the Cougar Chronicle shows spring 2022 as of Oct. 12, content for the fall has started to show up on the site in the past few weeks. An inquiry regarding the overall status of the publication has not yet been responded to.

In the Oct. 12 post announcing The Telescope’s change to online-only production, Palomar College student news adviser Erin Hiro stated that the decision to shutter the print edition came after two years of consideration. The COVID-19 pandemic gave Hiro, as a longtime instructor and journalist, a chance to assess where the program was headed.

“In March 2020, The Telescope stopped printing a physical paper but took its Covid coverage online,” she wrote. “Since then, as the adviser, I have been agonizing on whether to bring back a print edition. As a former print newspaper reporter, I have strong nostalgia for the permanency of print. But I could not ignore other factors that told me it was time to give up the past.”

Changing skillsets in today’s digital era, rising print costs, and environmental waste were among the reasons she cited.

“With those factors, going online is the right call. But I am still worried,” she wrote. “The biggest concern for The Telescope remaining online is that the campus community will forget that we have a campus newspaper.”

Up until the pandemic, The Telescope had published uninterrupted since just after the college’s founding in 1945. It has consistently earned awards for its work since its launch.

MiraCosta’s Chariot student newspaper dates back to the 1950s. After existing for several decades as an educational program, it transitioned to student activities, under which clubs and student government are placed. The Chariot continued to be involved in collegiate and professional organizations into the 2010s.

The Cougar Chronicle has its roots in CSUSM’s original student-run newspapers, Pioneer and The Pride. Pioneer was founded in 1990, transitioning to The Pride in 1993.

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