Why the Mirror, Why Journalism?


an illustration from a late 1972 issue of the Mirror, the artist name is noted on the bottom.

Dat "Winston" Ho, Hour 5B

 What is the Mirror?

  “Reflections of the SPASH community” – the Mirror’s motto

 The Mirror is SPASH’s independent paper which has a long history as the paper goes way back, even as far as the 1930’s when SPASH was still housed in the PJ Jacobs building.

 Throughout the years, the Mirror has seen significant modernization, starting as ink on large paper articles, A4 papers, and staples started to replace the big oldies in which these papers became digitized into the modern-day Mirror.

The older versions of The Mirror show a formidable change in writing style and graphics. Compared to current articles of the Mirror which might feel more like an essay, (just like this one!) older pieces show a more personal and “hobbyist” touch as it seems that they showed utmost enjoyment in creating the news piece.

Viewing the older issues of the Mirror, it is oddly beautiful to see even the most basic of drawings and edits in the article. Seeing digital photos and inserting images regularly have changed perceptions and expectations of news articles so a break up of the usual sharp and colorful images is to put into words, oddly charming. 

Of course, the edits, mini-comics, hand-drawn images, and the black and white pictures may seem unappealing to some and “corny” to others, but they serve well as a time machine into a more laid-back and “vintage” period in time.

Journalistic management

 Management of the Mirror has changed from time to time; the current manager of the station is  Mrs. White.

An image of Mrs.White, the current manager of the Mirror

 Although she has been mostly an English teacher, 3 years ago, she was assigned the management role of the reflection of the SPASH community; and along with it, she brought reform to the Mirror

 Through the creation of journalism as a class, she brought along with her a new generation of aspiring writers has really increased the diversity of the site. She also allocated a good deal of freedom and control for her students while taking opportunities to develop these students in journalistic areas such as interviewing, writing, finding credible sources, and creativity.

“The goal is for students to write about anything while developing their skills in writing such as finding credible sources, communication with peers on writing, and organization of information,” Mrs. White shared on the topic of journalism as a class. “I think people write better when they have an authentic audience.” This reflects the diversity of articles featured on the site as it is a collection of journalistic works produced by only students. 

Cracks and imperfections

Via opinions collected from 50 SPASH students, more than three-quarters (75.4%) of the poll’s subjects gave a rating of three or under (mediocre or lacking).

Ratings for the Mirror from a recent poll with 50 responses (one is missing because they didn’t leave a rating)

One flaw with The Mirror is its quality. For instance, a subject stated that “[the Mirror] is slightly unorganized and sometimes the articles aren’t edited overly great”

 The assumption on the variations in the quality of the site’s article is valid since journalism has transitioned from being a club for devoted journalists to an alternative creative writing class as stated previously by Mrs. White. It should be acknowledged  that learning students who have various writing styles and is on various writing levels may contribute to the remarkable differences in quality that are seen on the site

 Some have also criticized that “[The Mirror] is not as noticed by the school and needs to be spread around” and “They should print [the Mirror] again”. It could be argued that although stopping the printing and rapidly digitizing the Mirror might trivialize its popularity among the student populace, this has actually helped with the increasing accessibility of the Mirror and allowed even members of the Steven Point to see and enjoy the workings of the junior journalist. 

 These increases in accessibility are backed up by the traffic data of the site, as according to the site’s data, thousands of users access the Mirror daily, and the site has seen an average growth of 20 to 50 users every day, showing that the digitalization of the Mirror has not hampered even a bit of growth from the site.

Attacks and Criticism on the press

 “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCnews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people.” One of the tweets from former President Trump criticized the more left-leaning news sources.

 The press often receives criticism of corruption and collaboration by fabricating crises to help politicians gain favor from the people. This is seen very often, as more politically leaned stations, mostly based in the States, would try to exaggerate certain pieces of news for their own political gain.

 While folks always have some form of resentment for news and media as a whole. It should be noted that the spread of news has actually helped a lot more than it hurts as it has spread more awareness, and has created almost a reversed “big brother” on politicians and the government. 

 A recent example to note is the heavily criticized Biden administration. While on the surface, Mr. Biden seems unphased by criticism from the media. However, it is clear that the media have quite an impact on the actions of Mr. Biden and other politicians, due to the recent sanctions on Russia, and logistics support from Ukraine is the direct cause of the opinion of the common population being passed on to the government officials through the medium of med butia.

 Not only that, corporations are also being monitored by journalism as well. Without news coverage on the topic, perhaps Nestle could’ve even gotten away with denying clean drinking water and poisoning more Africans.

 Mr. Chuck Plunkett, an editorial editor for Denver’s Post, during his TED talk on the importance of local news in relation to democracy, stated that: “When [police, politicians and/or corporations] are being watched, politicians have less power, police do right by the public, even massive corporations are on their best behavior.”

 By being the reversed “big brother”, journalism practically allows ordinary citizens to influence the government or even corporations to change for the better or suffer having a bad reputation, ranging from a lump-sum of time to forever.

 The importance of Journalism

 Journalism is the 4th pillar of the government, through the medium of news, facts and information can travel anywhere in a small amount of time, more so after the popularization of the internet. 

Journalism provides a way for people to know what is currently happening while allowing them to provide their opinions on a certain topic that is important in their community

 It is most important for one to spread the news and information with good ethics, as disinformation can cause further political discourse or in the worst-case scenario, violent disagreement.

 “The central job of journalism is to establish the facts and share them as widely as we can.” Shared Mr. Oreskes, head of NPR, a nonprofit news station, “it builds a common base for debates and questions over the values and interests of the society.” Relaying relevant information to the general public, it allows people to make better decisions, whether it is a personal decision on what to eat to who to vote for in order to have a chance of bettering the lives of themselves and others.

School news sites, especially the topic of discussion, the Mirror, act the same way. As discussed before, school news site still aims to spread relevant information and opinions around to help inform the students on what is currently going on in their community while teachers and administration can use it as a hypothetical tool to measure the welfare of students.

 The Mirror has almost reached its 90th year of operation, in that time, it has delivered much information, opinions, and laughs while seeing its evolution over the decades. And although it has changed way past its original state, it is certain that the Mirror will always continue to be the reflection of the SPASH community until the end of time.

Thank you for reading and enjoying the Mirror.