Students and staff share opinions on Mirror transition

Amanda Bagnall-Newman, Layout Manager

The Mirror newspaper will be transitioning to strictly online, which means no print product will be released in the future. To read the articles written by students, visit our website at

Students and staff were asked to share their opinions on the upcoming changes to The Mirror. Here are their responses.


Janel Weir, sophomore hospitality management major

“I think switching to digital is a great idea. By going online, I believe that people will be more likely to read the stories because (smartphones) are basically with (us) wherever (we) go. It is more convenient to the viewers since we spend most of our time on our phones, on apps and other social media sites. Also, it is ecological for our school by saving paper.”


Jake Weyker, sophomore graphic art major

“I think Lakeland should continue with printing the paper. I enjoy picking up the paper and reading what’s all happening on campus. I feel like there’s more meaning behind printing.”


Pete Barth, senior marketing specialist, Mirror advisor

“Few industries are changing faster and more dramatically than the one formerly known as ‘newspapers.’ It is our duty as an institution of higher learning to not only keep up with change, but be at the forefront of it. The future of this particular industry definitely lies in digital news gathering and production, so that is where we will focus our energy and innovation moving forward. As a direct result, we will produce student journalists who are well-versed in website skills and deadlines and social media production, and thus will be more prepared to enter this ever-changing field than if they were still committed to the production of a printed product. I certainly understand the nostalgia and romanticism that surround producing and printing a newspaper and holding the proof of that hard work in our hands. As someone who worked for daily newspapers for more than two decades, I have proudly helped produce thousands of hard-copy newspapers. These past two years as the advisor of The Mirror have led to many similarly proud moments when the culmination of our hard work rolled off the presses. But we must be willing to change with the times, and in the newspaper industry, college graduates with real-time digital news gathering skills are currently more coveted than those with hard-copy newspaper producing experience.”


Paige Gerber, senior international business major

“The Mirror is a tricky subject. I understand why they cut the printing because the budget is so constrained that even many programs were cut. But The Mirror is also a symbol for the school. It’s award winning and it’s just always nice to have. It’s sad that it was cut.”


John McKenzie, instructor of communication

“The Mirror is now experiencing the same crunch a lot of the newspaper industry went through in 2008 and 2009. During the economic recession, a ton of well-regarded and established newspapers (including the Chicago Tribune and the Madison Capital Times) either went bankrupt or stopped distribution of print editions. In some regards, it will always be a discouraging thing when a newspaper goes digital only. I will certainly miss grabbing my copy of The Mirror out of my campus mailbox and reading it between classes and meetings. But, on the other hand, with any big change there is also opportunity. The shift to a digital format allows The Mirror staff to try out things that are only possible in digital contexts—whether that be fostering new forms of reader interaction, inclusion of videos (for example, of sporting events or convocations), an enhanced social media presence or simply reaching a wider base of Lakeland’s alumni network. I for one can’t wait to see what new directions The Mirror takes.”


Karl Elder, Fessler professor of creative writing and poet in residence

“I shall sorely miss the paper.  Additionally, I would prefer that students continue to have a chance to work with both mediums.  Despite the general movement toward electronic media in publishing, paper—tabloids, magazines, pamphlets, and books—is not going to disappear.  In fact, the on-demand print industry is thriving, as LC students were able to witness at the recent AWP convention.”


After careful consideration, the staff and their advisors are making the transition to online.

Switching to online will allow readers to receive news in real time and stay constantly updated. The print product is unable to provide updates as quickly. Almost immediately after a print newspaper is released, it is already outdated. The Mirror plans to release more news and at a faster pace to better inform its readers about what is happening around campus.

Print is a form of communication that has no interactive value to the reader. Online articles have the option for readers to comment and discuss their opinions and ideas about each article. This can spark healthy conversation between staff and readers.

A large readership is loyal to the print model. There is an aesthetic and tangible value to a print model which digital cannot provide.

The transition to an online news base is how modern newspapers are adapting to the digital era. This will also better prepare students who are looking to work in the newspaper field after graduation.

The Mirror will survive as a paperless model, embracing the necessary alterations demanded in a digital age of communication.