Turning the page in BC journalism: Danny Edwards


Danny Edwards

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

After being in charge of the Bakersfield College journalism department for the past 13 years, professor Danny Edwards is retiring. Edwards will be replaced by Erin Auerbach starting in the fall. Edwards said he originally wanted to become a sports writer, which he did, graduating from San Jose State in 1980 and working throughout the Bay Area early on in his career. In 1986, Edwards was hired at The Fresno Bee, where he spent 18 years in several editor capacities in the sports and news departments.

“The teaching thing came around in 2000,” he said. “I was wandering into work one day at the Fresno Bee and on a bulletin board was a notice that Fresno City College needs someone to teach a newspaper class, and I thought, ‘that sounds kind of cool’, but I had a full-time job and my wife and I still had fairly young children.” Edwards recalled that he didn’t think he’d have time for the job. “I figured the newspaper class had some heavy hours involved even though it said on the notice it was only six hours a week, and I thought a job like that is not going to be six hours a week if you want to do it right, but just for the heck of it I applied.”

A few days later, he got a phone call from a dean at Fresno City College asking if Edwards wanted to come in for an interview. “I said OK and came in for an interview,” Edwards said. “Three days later he calls me up and says, ‘We want you to do the job.’” Edwards accepted the position and taught at Fresno City College for two years from 2000 up until 2002. In 2002, Edwards decided to go back to school and acquire his master’s degree. He finished in 2004, and soon heard of an opening at BC. “No sooner did the degree come in the mail than I heard about the job at BC,” he said. He applied for the job, and before long he was asked to come in for an interview and was offered the position.

“Next thing you know, they said they want me to do the job, and they foolishly hired me, and I’ve been here for 13 years ever since,” he said. Edwards admitted he had always been somewhat interested in teaching, but it was not until many years into his profession as a journalist that teaching struck him as something he would want to do. “I always thought teaching would be interesting, but it wasn’t until I was pretty deep in journalism that I was like man, you know, I’ve been in this field for almost 20 years and you begin to wonder what else there might be. You’re in the same field for 20 years and you think, ‘I wonder if my skills or experience would relate to something else.’ It was then that I saw that job posting. It’s turned out to be a wonderful second career,” he said. Edwards said his favorite part of the job has been working with students and the natural mentoring that comes with it.

“I’m going to miss the natural mentoring that takes place,” he said. “To me, it makes me feel good that students can come in a year plus later and feel that I’ll be open to them and get some advice or whatever knowledge I can throw out there.”

Edwards said teaching isn’t something he really learned how to do. “If someone got hired at the newspaper and they needed to learn the computer system, everyone always made me do it even though I’m not really a computer guy, but I knew how the programs worked,” he said.

“One time I asked why they always have me do it, and they said, ‘Oh you’re just good at teaching that’ and I never thought of it that way. I just taught it how I thought I should. I never took a class on how to teach, I guess some people might call it a natural. I just call it winging it, and a lot of it seemed to work. “Just being straight up with students, not being someone you’re not, not trying to be their friend. If you’re going to be their friend, just be their friend, it’s going to happen. If you’re going to be their mentor, that’ll happen just in the way you conduct yourself.”

Overall, Edwards claimed he is content with retiring. “Overall, I’m good with the decision to retire,” he said. “I’ll probably feel some sentiment on my last week here, and at graduation, but I feel a sense of satisfaction that the job is complete. I feel like hundreds of students have benefitted from the program at BC, and I am proud to have been in charge of it. It’s coming down to it, and I’m really looking forward to moving on,.” Edwards said he plans on traveling, spending time with his family, and continuing to compete in triathlons after his departure from BC.