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Rocklin, Calif. – ย– Determined to fill a void that was missing on campus, Kris Gibson headed up the effort to revive a student newspaper at Sierra College, producing the first issue on a chilly February evening in his own unheated garage.

Gibson’s journalism skills, leadership and resilience were qualities that helped him become the recipient of the 2009 Jim Janssen Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to promising journalism students at the Sierra College campus in Rocklin.

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Ambitious Student Revives Newspaper at Sierra College

A 2004 graduate of Placer High School who grew up in Foresthill, Gibson will receive a $750 scholarship in memory of Janssen, a longtime reporter at The Press-Tribune. Janssen worked at the Roseville newspaper for 43 years prior to his death in 2004.

‘We’re pleased to support an inspiring student like Kris in his pursuit of a journalism career,’ said Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, who provided the leadership donation to establish the scholarship fund. ‘Jim Janssen was admired for his work at The Press-Tribune and we hope the values and integrity he demonstrated as a journalist will be carried on by this year’s scholarship winner.’

Gibson, who resides in Lincoln, personally recruited a handful of staff members and put out three issues of the campus newspaper ย– renamed the Sierra Independent Press. The Outlook, the former campus newspaper, was disbanded in 2008.

The Sierra Independent Press was part of a club activity under the guidance of Sierra College journalism instructor Kent Pollock. Gibson sold advertising, wrote stories, and served as editor and chief, while his wife Alishea handled the design and layout of the newspaper, which printed 1,000 copies of each edition.

‘A lot of people didn’t believe we could do this, but a big campus like Sierra College really needed a newspaper and we put together a great staff and are very proud of our work,’ said the 23-year-old Gibson, who managed to run the newspaper while also working full-time and taking full load of classes at Sierra. ‘I still remember Alishea, wrapped in a blanket, laying out the first edition late one night in our freezing cold garage, which had no heat. We dove into it head first and we really fell in love with the whole process of producing a newspaper.’

The Janssen scholarship was established in 2004 when more than $12,000 was raised from a number of area donors. In addition to Mr. Tsakopoulos, other major donors include: Gold Country Media, publisher of The Press-Tribune in Roseville; Hewlett Packard; Halldin Public Relations; SureWest; Del Webb California; Westpark Associates; and Agilent Technologies.

‘I’m proud to be chosen for this scholarship and I’m very appreciative of the donors who made this possible,’ Gibson said. ‘I didn’t know Mr. Janssen personally, but he was obviously a dedicated journalist, so to be able to continue my education at Sierra College in his name is a real honor.’

The scholarship fund is made through the Sierra College Foundation, whose mission is to give members of the community an outlet to assist and invest in the development of quality educational opportunities.

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