Our School Needs Free Press

S. Zulch

In light of the recent budget crisis and the cutbacks in our education system, many classes at Miramonte may cease to exist after this year. We, the Mirador staff, are asking the Miramonte community to support the continuation of our high school’s award-winning journalism program.

The Mirador has been an essential part of Miramonte history and culture for over 50 years, dating back to its beginning in 1957, just two years after the school opened. Since its birth, the Mirador has developed into one of the best high school newspapers in Northern California, winning the Dean S. Lesher Newspaper Award for Overall Excellence several times including the past two years.

Many staff writers have won individual awards or continued their journalism career by writing for prestigious university newspapers like UCLA’s The Daily Bruin, University of Washington’s The Daily, and University of Michigan’s The Michigan Daily.

None of this would have been attainable if the Mirador was just an after school program or club. The majority of Miramonte students have exceptionally busy schedules, participating in clubs, sports, community service, theater, and other activities on top of the heavy workload that our classes demand. Our writers, photographers, designers, and editors need a period in the school day to work on the Mirador, and without that time, the paper would not survive.

The Mirador does more than just produce the newspaper you see every five weeks. Our program teaches people the basic fundamentals of journalism and its function in today’s world. By giving students real life media experience, staff members are able to pursue their journalistic passions and prepare themselves for a major or a career in this field. Additionally, with the recent establishment of the Mirador’s own website, our staff is now obtaining 21st century skills.

Participation in our newspaper also instills fundamental leadership qualities in our staff. As a student-run publication, our 35 person team must work together to develop a sophisticated, accurate newspaper every five weeks. When difficult stories arise in our community, we have a responsibility to inform the community and consequently must navigate unprecedented, highly visible and very personal land mine topics using solely our own leadership and judgment.

Mirador staffers are committed to the publication process and our program gives students the opportunity to take ownership of their own work. Staff members develop a sense of importance about their writing and realize the impact that they can have on our community. If our program is eliminated, our staffers would be stripped of this confidence and our 45 pre-journalism students will never have the opportunity to discover the significance of their journalistic voices.

The Mirador has become a time capsule which permanently documents a detailed account of our school’s history. Over 50 years since the paper began, we are still able to access records of old papers and see what Miramonte was like in the past. Furthermore, our new website allows us to reach a broader audience and spread word of Miramonte’s achievements outside the reaches of our community. If our newspaper is cut, this documentation of Miramonte will cease to exist and the legacies which could be survived through the paper will be eternally lost.

Our country is based on democracy and the appreciation of the “voice of the people.” Throughout history, the press has acted as a watchdog force, checking on the power of government and authority and relaying their actions to the public. The Mirador is no exception. Through careful investigation and reporting, our paper is able to keep an eye on both our administration and the community and provide vital information to our audience. Miramonte has a responsibility to protect each student or publication’s “voice” and must allow us to continue educating the community on issues to which it may otherwise be blind.

After the elimination of MatsTV several years ago, the Miramonte community lost a vital way for students to obtain information about our campus’ news and events. The Mirador now remains Miramonte’s only student press outlet and its removal would be detrimental to our staffers and community alike.

The Mirador is a crucial part of the Miramonte community which cannot be sacrificed due to budget cuts. The elimination of our class would abolish a publication that is larger than Miramonte itself. The Mirador provides an awareness of the accomplishments of our community: an awareness that permanently documents the legacy to which each and every person in the Miramonte community is a contributor.

The Editorial Board voted 11-0 in favor.