A Semester To Remember: Reporters at The Inquirer Reflect On the Wild Ride of Spring 2021


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The Inquirer 2021 Spring Semester Team, Staff, Editor, Editor-in-chief and Advisor

Note from the advisor:

What an inspiring class of students, and what a time to be reporting, writing and telling stories that resonate across our East Bay community. While attending journalism school 20 years ago in New York City, I was reporting at an AIDS clinic in the Bronx on the bright September morning when airplanes struck the World Trade Center. The experience of 9/11 defined my journalism education and left a permanent mark on our generation.

The events we have all just come through – the pandemic of 2020, seismic racial justice protests, a violent insurrection that threatened American democracy at its core – may likewise be remembered as the defining year of today’s generation. To the intrepid student journalists at The Inquirer, who spent this remote semester working tirelessly to inform, uplift and entertain their peers and the campus community at large, I thank you. Your grit, curiosity, humor, creativity and commitment says so much about who you are, and I was proud to be a part of your historic effort. Onward, to better times ahead.

Michael Levitin    


Whether it is local politics or national sports coverage, informative guest speakers or giving a voice to those in our community who need it the most, The Inquirer keeps the democratic spirit of journalism alive. Becoming an Inquirer staff member can offer you useful writing and reporting experience, no matter which major you are pursuing. With Professor Michael Levitin at the helm, and the opportunity to work alongside your fellow students covering hard-hitting and relevant news, you can gain a well-rounded perspective of the issues faced by Diablo Valley College students, Contra Costa County residents, and beyond.

Find your voice! Join The Inquirer team and seize the opportunity to make a difference through writing.

-Andrea K. Madison


If you are studying political science, join The Inquirer. Building a robot? Join The Inquirer. Music producer? Please, consider The Inquirer when registering for your classes next semester. 

My time at Diablo Valley College has been fantastic. The teachers are great, the students are nice and you save big bucks, but my biggest regret is not joining the paper sooner. Skillswise, journalism is the best way to work on your writing. It’s immediately hands-on and every story requires a different tone or something you haven’t tried before. You’ll also be working with a team of great editors, including our tireless professor, Michael Levitin, who’ll all make sure that your stories are top-notch. 

Whether you are studying STEM, dance or finance, becoming a better writer should also be one of your priorities, and that alone is enough reason to join The Inquirer. It’s also extremely rewarding. 

While covering local politics, I’ve learned so much about how our county works. In spite of countless hours watching and rewatching possibly the most mundane meetings to ever be published online, writing these stories is absolutely worth the effort. There’s really no feeling like brainstorming an article and carrying it to publication. And if you’re an activist or just want to make a difference in Contra Costa, reporting on how policy gets done is just too invaluable of an opportunity to pass up. 

Even online, working with this team has been an absolute delight. There are just too many good things I can say about this publication. Feel free to send me a message at [email protected] if you have any questions, and register for a journalism class while you’re at it!

Signing off, 

Tristan Shaughnessy 


If you are considering joining The Inquirer in the future, definitely give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed. There is a great group of hardworking staff as well as Michael Levitin being a great professor who will always help you achieve your best writing with his editing and advice. Both semesters I have been in this class have been fun and exciting, and it has been great to interact with our great staff members, even over Zoom. Each and every journalist on the team has done a great job being able to report and write high-quality stories from their homes. I wish the best to the returning and future Inquirer staff next semester and I know they will continue to produce quality work. 



Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and do something out of the ordinary. I went out on a limb taking this class and accepting the fact that my work will be published for all eyes to see. This was one of the greatest choices I’ve made as a journalist. I’m thankful that I was able to work with such an intelligent staff and teacher. If you’ve been contemplating putting your name out there, this is your sign… from me. It doesn’t matter whether writing for The Inquirer relates to your major or not, this will be an experience you will not forget. Until you see more of me…



My beat as a student journalist on The Inquirer – covering DVC campus trends, resources and events – has been an eye-opening experience. Being a reporter gave me access to faculty, staff and students that I would not otherwise have enjoyed.

A lot goes on behind the scenes at DVC, which I was oblivious to as a transfer student twenty years ago. Now I’m back learning to be a writer. 

In ancient China, teachers and scholars were among the most revered members of society.  This is as it should be. The DVC faculty and staff I interviewed not only pay careful attention and put diligent care into their work, but are also constantly searching for innovative ways to improve the educational experiences and outcomes for their students. The people I met are concerned about the holistic well-being of their students, not merely their grades. Prof. Michael Levitin is no exception.

-Jenny Orme


Michael Levitin and our editors have guided our understanding of journalism and have expanded my writing skills. As a staff reporter, I have focused on marginalized communities and I have enjoyed working with an engaging and thoughtful group of people who are dedicated to the truth and self exploration.  

Writing for The Inquirer has truly been a rewarding and productive experience. I have enjoyed the freedom to follow my interests and to cover stories that have meaning and relevance in my life while highlighting truly inspiring people. I have learned so much in such a short time and I am grateful for the guidance and tutelage of Professor Levitin along with our student editors. Most importantly, I have thoroughly enjoyed the people I have met while interacting with fellow staff who exude dedication, curiosity, compassion and engagement on  wide-ranging issues. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of The Inquirer team.



“Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about–a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union–and take its side.”

– Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century 

I decided to take this class because I was horrified by Donald Trump’s continued vilification of the press and his oft repeated claim that the media are “the enemy of the people.” For me, learning how to be a journalist was a way to defend an institution that is critical to a free society. Even if you have no plans for pursuing a career in journalism, I would still highly recommend joining the staff of The Inquirer for a semester. There’s a ton that goes into reporting the news, and the skills learned will help you better understand journalism while looking at media through a more informed lens. Professor Michael Levitin does an incredible job of teaching and guiding everyone through the process and he will push you to be a better writer/reporter. Our incredible staff had the freedom to report on the topics that were important to them, as evidenced by the wide range of stories covered this semester. The research, interviews, cold-calls, writing and editing are unbelievably worth it when you see your story published. Democracy needs journalists. Get out there and make a difference.