I failed Professor Patti Jones’ Introduction to Mass Media in my first quarter at SCC. I failed miserably, and Jones saw it coming from a mile away.
My first official journalism teacher knew I was taking 23 credits, juggling jobs and becoming accustomed as the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Editor for the Ebbtide in fall 2018. Jones advised me that I probably had too much on my hands, and she was right. She often is.
For 15 years, Jones has been the Ebbtide’s advisor. Her job is to teach the incoming students who find themselves in the Ebbtide office and to serve as a voice of reason for a paper that has been around since 1966.
“She’s fought for this newspaper for several years,” said Daniel DeMay, a former Editor-in-Chief (EiC) and senior editor for the Seattle PI. DeMay came to SCC in 2009 in his late twenties.
Jones has seen it all. She’s a seasoned journalist who has written for publications such as Glamour, New York Magazine and Working Mother. Before coming to SCC in 2004, she worked in places such as New York and Hong Kong.
“She was like a mom to the staff,” said DeMay.
Every other week, Jones would teach us journalism techniques, tips and do’s and don’ts — she also taught the News Writing course, where students had the opportunity to get more in-depth lessons.
According to Mimi Harvey, SCC’s Head of Communications Program, she appreciated Patti’s “unflappable attitude.”
“Her students have always spoken about her with genuine affection and respect,” Harvey said.
She almost never told you what to do: she simply asked questions, always with the goal of improving the writing skills of her pupils.
Online Editor Natasha Ann Sidik said, “As a mentor, Patti has a straightforward, honest voice; she won’t hesitate critiquing her students.” Jones would often stay late into the evenings while the Ebbtide staff fact-checked the paper.
Staff writer Tobias Hope Young said that Jones always provided encouragement. “She never made anything feel impossible.”
In 2016, A&E Nova Clark met Jones for the first time in Jones’ Mass Media class. Clark said that that Jones introduced her to the value of breaking the “Spiral of silence,” a theory that describes the hesitation to share an idea contrary to popular opinion.
“If someone doesn’t stand their ground, no one will,” Clark said. “Thanks to Patti, I walked away with not only a phrase for this ‘spiral,’ but the encouragement to ‘break’ it.”
“She’s my journalistic muse,” Copy Editor CJ Priebe said.
Connor Tee, another Former Editor-in-Chief, really appreciates Jones’ affect on his life. “Patti took a real chance on me, someone from the outside with no real experience, but my time running the Ebbtide was probably the best two years of my life.” He added, “She was always adamant that the paper belongs to the students, that the buck stops with the EiC, not her.”
Under Jones’ tutelage, a number of students have won awards from the Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators to the Ebbtide for some of their achievements.
The Ebbtide has also earned the most points than any other Washington and Oregon state community college newspaper in the “Publication Sweeps” category – we have seven under our belt.
We’ve also amassed eight “General Excellence” awards in the last 8 out of 11 years.
In January 2019, Jones will hopefully be replaced by another advisor who loves the Ebbtide just as much and who can share their own unique experiences in the world of journalism.
But what we have, and truly cherish, is a decade and a half of wonderful journalistic integrity.