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I am AACC: Derek Roper, Campus Crier Assistant Editor

Student Snapshot

I am AACC Student Snapshot: Derek Roper

Age: 22

Major: General Studies with electives in journalism

Hometown: Baltimore/Pasadena

Up until high school, Derek Roper wanted to be a marine biologist. However, that dream was permanently squashed when he discovered his ticket to a career in the undersea world required a passing grade in trigonometry. “I’m not any good in math,” he admits. “So I thought I would turn to the thing that I used to like to do when I was a kid.” And that thing was writing.

After graduating high school in 2005, Derek enrolled at AACC in hopes of affirming his reignited childhood interest. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do, but I wanted to make sure that writing was my passion; I wanted to solidify it,” he says.

After taking some core classes, he pursued the college’s journalism electives and landed in the newspaper practicum where he became a Campus Crier staff writer. In the spring of 2007, he assumed the title of assistant editor, adding more responsibility to his status quo full schedule; but Derek took it all in stride. He introduced his own column "The Dirty Dirty", a gossip report that playfully scrutinizes everyday mishaps and happenings of high profile celebrities in addition to contributing monthly articles on music, bands, and events on campus. He says the Crier team constantly follows news trends on college campuses while always appealing to their target audience: the student.

“We search a ton of news on the Web. I have e-mails that come to me from CNET to MSNBC,” he says. “We look at things that appeal to college students. The most recent one we had that’s in an upcoming issue is about sex offenders getting financial aid. We try to cover things that you can think about. We make sure that what we put on the front page isn’t something that would appeal to teachers because after all, this is the student newspaper and we’re writing for the students.” Other hot topics? “Fights; we had a fight in the cafeteria in a past issue; relationship issues; I did a story on Alcoholics Anonymous and I think that can be a big issue with people; and Juicy Canvas, which is a Web site where anyone can anonymously spread a rumor about anyone on their campus.”

The Crier is managed by three editors and three staff writers under the supervision of advisor Cindy Boese. Derek says the paper receives mixed feedback but seems more concerned with informing students that the newspaper actually exists, not only as a resource but as a platform for students to voice their opinions. “There are so many people who have different ideas and want to stress it. [The Crier] is a great platform to express your opinion. We take all kinds of submissions as long as it’s within deadline.” He encourages interested students to “make yourself heard. If there is something they want to change on campus they should write about it. It’s something you have to be active in rather than be passive because your voice isn’t going to be heard unless you get it out there.”

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