A Vision reflection: One year later


Courtesy of Helen Peng

Former Vision Editor-in-Chief Helen Peng (right) and Managing Editor Victoria Gong (left) return to reflect on what has changed.

Helen Peng and Victoria Gong

The vIsIoN: a review from past editors that was written a week late because The Vision was short on articles from their actual staff last week (but not this week unfortunately) 

Part 1: A New Age

Wow, we can barely recognize The Vision, and that may be in large due to the fact that we haven’t read it since last year. But as we were writing this article we did some research, and we came to the realization that so much has changed. Most of them are good things. Some of them are really good things. Like the fact that we’ve apparently recruited Star Wars actress Kelly (Marie) Tran as a staff writer?! Gina, you’re a legend—we have no idea how you managed that. 

We’d also like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to every individual who won an MSPA award this year! It’ll look really good on your college applications. Especially yours, Mr. Richardson. We’re still not sure what Best of SNO is, but congratulations to everyone who was featured on that as well! And the media section! Massive respect for completing our hasty multimedia dreams last year. To our juniors, we are especially proud of y’all for doing such a great job fulfilling our roles and growing as a staff—you guys make us look bad. And grand-juniors, hi, we probably haven’t met, but the expectations are set high for next year, so step up and good luck!

The Vision seems like it’s in a much happier place, and we’d love to see it continue to grow as the baton is passed on. The writing has gotten stronger, the standards seem higher, and Dr. Heath Stevens is commenting a lot more. But what’s most evident is the love and passion that’s been invested into the organization and its product through hard work. We’d like to personally say thank you to every staff member, editor, photographer and advisor for improving upon Vision a thousand fold this year—unfortunately, we’re in quarantine, so physically doing that would be impossible. Plus, it would be a little weird if we walked up to you, clasped your hand firmly, gazed into your eyes and murmured, “Thank you, y/n.”

Part 2: In Retrospect

College promotes an environment that encourages narcissism and constant personal value judgement, so we’re going to do some Reflection in this next section. If you’re the type of person who liked to scream, “NO SPOILERS!” and ran away with your hands pressed tightly over your ears whenever someone mentioned anything Marvel-related in the months before Endgame came out, then do yourself a solid and stop reading here. If you don’t care about our opinions because you’ve never met us, stop reading here. And if the tone this article has thus far been written in repulses you, comes across as demeaning and/or offensive and/or annoyingly apathetic, or makes you feel an overwhelming desire to punch the writer in the face, please stop reading here. I’ll leave my address below. It’s going to get a lot worse.


Helen Peng, former Editor-in-Chief:

So, I actually considered being a journalist for a while. I love writing and can become extremely passionate about telling the stories of those I feel have been overlooked. I also went to a journalism summer program, JCamp, and met world class journalists who convinced me of the importance of journalism in America and my role in it (shoutout to Cameron for being a fellow JCamp alum!). Being a journalist, attempting to find the truth and being a reliable source of information for a community is extremely respectable. Sometimes I still wish that I was as passionate about journalism as I was before, but I’m too opinionated, antisocial and not very charismatic. Storytelling was what drew me to journalism, but I realized that I can storytell through other mediums I’m more passionate about.

I will say, though, that journalism was and still is a good resume booster. I still write about being editor-in-chief when I’m applying to internships and try to make a point to talk about it during interviews. Writing is probably one of the most useful and versatile skills anyone can have because it’s centered around communication. When you’re a first-year in college with virtually no resume, talk about journalism because interviewers and admissions eat it up. 

Other than that, though, college journalism isn’t really a part of my life. My college’s daily newspaper is independent from the school, which means that 1. they can write about anything they want, 2. are always dealing with budget issues, 3. literally have to stay up past midnight continuously editing articles… which are promptly printed the next day. Long story short, journalism in college is a huge commitment, and you’ll soon discover that “quality over quantity” really applies to extracurriculars in college. For example, now I write erotica and advice for our sex and romance mag. Yay. Me. My true passion.

In retrospect, I laugh at how riled up I was on Mondays, before journalism class, and how I’d passionately scrawl “Articles due on Thursdays, 500 words” in all caps on the whiteboard in Hooper lobby. Like seriously, Helen, chill. The upside down-triangle/citation stuff that is really enforced is useless if you aren’t doing journalism in high school. I guess it’s nice to be able to appreciate the reason for that though. But, as a student concentrating in subjects as non-journalism related as Industrial Design and Cognitive Science, I can confidently say that the writing and communication skills you develop through working with staff can pretty much help you anywhere.


Victoria Gong, former Managing Editor:

The MSPA logo is pretty ironic. If you don’t know what it looks like, it’s an outline of our state (which is Mississippi, in case you didn’t know that either) with the word “Truth” on the inside. That, in a nutshell (Mississippi-shell?) is everything I hate about journalism. This website, which was the first result that popped up when I googled “what’s the purpose of journalism,” says nothing about journalism as a pursuit of the truth. If you’re doing journalism because you think you’re telling the truth, stop. What even is truth? Certainly not journalism! (Some A+ logic for you.) 

Journalism is just a confusing jumble of noises and voices trying to tell you what to believe. Journalism is just spinning a story in the light that best reflects your news organization. Journalism is just a form of storytelling that requires research and talking to people and dumbing your story down as much as possible. I hate how journalism makes itself out to seem (or is portrayed in the media) like this holier-than-thou, truth-seeking profession when it’s just a bunch of over-caffeinated writers sticking their noses into other people’s business, looking for ways to spin a story that will give them the best buck for their bang. 

If you’re doing journalism because one day you want to do some reckoning, you’re in the wrong place, buddy. If you’re doing journalism because you like telling stories, write a book instead. Journalism is a hard job, and I have nothing but respect for anyone who did it (except for myself, but we’ll get to that later) or will choose it as a profession. Unfortunately, journalism is a necessity in the Culture we have built for ourselves, where knowing things and uttering buzzwords, including the politics of the day, gets you a higher Culture Score. (As used in a sentence: I have a very low Culture Score, as I can’t get myself to care very much about the news.) 

Anyways, it makes me glad that so much care is being put into “The Vision” this year. Because, I will admit, I am bereaved by how much I knew I could have helped out with The Vision during my time on staff but chose not to because I was only there to put it on my resume. I don’t regret the decisions I made because, ultimately, I got to develop a lot of negative feelings about journalism, vow that I will never be a part of a newspaper again and instead devote my time to extracurriculars that interest me instead. Also, because of The Vision, I have many fond memories of hanging out with friends and laughing about non-journalism things in HAUD or Hooper 106. I guess, do things you don’t enjoy, so you can figure out you don’t enjoy them. Hypocritically, there are no lessons you should take from this rant, because you should never do what I say or do as I do. If you have any questions or want to send me passionate explanations telling me why I’m wrong, my email is [email protected].

Part 3: FAREWELL (forever)

Let this be our last article for “The Vision” (please, God, please). Good luck and goodbye.