Newspaper ‘Le Gumby’ launched for French language majors

Carrollyne Aasen, Reporter

In spring 2021, California Lutheran University students Bailey Hendrix and Ariana Godinez created the first edition of “Le Gumby,” a French-language newspaper at Cal Lutheran. 

“It just started as a class project and turned into our own cute little newspaper,” alumna Bailey Hendrix said in a Zoom interview.

She said “Le Gumby” was part of an assignment from the French special topic class “Hot off the French press” taught by Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies Sophia Khadraoui-Fortune in the spring of 2021.

According to Khadraoui-Fortune in a post-interview email, the French-language students first received the newspaper at the end of April 2021 and then in September 2021, “The ‘New Normal’ News” featured the newspaper and released it to faculty. 

“The goal, to me, is to start growing a stronger French-speaking community on campus,” Khadraoui-Fortune said in a Zoom interview.

She said she wants this newspaper to be as inclusive as possible by including the Francophone, the French-speaking, community on campus in “Le Gumby.” Khadraoui-Fortune also said all French-speaking students are welcome to submit a request to write any article of their choosing or can submit a writing assignment from a French course.

“To me, it was a way for students to talk about what was important to them at that moment,” she said.  

Khadraoui-Fortune said the sections featured in this edition of “Le Gumby” were health, society, education and science. She said there were a couple times where Godinez and Hendrix both had an article in a section since there were six articles in four sections.

Sophomore Ariana Godinez said in a Zoom interview that the articles featured in the digital newspaper were written throughout the semester and at the end of the semester, the articles were put together to create this edition.

“It was based off of real things that happened in the news and then we, obviously, wrote them in French,” Godinez said.  

Hendrix said that each article had three drafts and edits by Dr. Khadraoui-Fortune before they were the end product. 

“It was a little hard at first,” Hendrix said. “I think it is always hard when you have to do multiple drafts of something.” 

Godinez said it was beneficial to practice writing in French and also show other people in the future the work she has done. She also said it was fun writing for “Le Gumby” because it was different from the essays and film analysis she wrote before this, but there were still difficulties when writing for “Le Gumby.” 

“For me, it was pretty difficult to try to form sentences, especially since I don’t know all the words in the French language like my professor,” Godinez said. 

Hendrix said this class project improved her writing and reading in French, which is beneficial since she now lives and works in France. 

Khadraoui-Fortune said she hopes to have another edition next semester at the end of the academic year and to, in the future, make “Le Gumby” an annual newsletter and include bilingual articles.

“I love that we have a lot of language diversity on campus,” Hendrix said. “I think lots of our students speak so many different languages, so I would just love to see not just more articles for French, but also more languages too.”

To read the first edition of the French-language newspaper, “Le Gumby,” by Bailey Hendrix and Ariana Godinez, click here.