Volume 50 and beyond
Our reflections on our year, The Medium, and student journalism.

Another school year has come and gone, and with it, ends Volume 50 of The Medium, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)’s independent student newspaper. 

Looking back, my thoughts settle in a few places. 

I think about how terribly little I once knew about the genocide in Palestine. I think about the people who took my hand and taught me, pulling me out of my ignorance, though it was never their responsibility to do so. I had difficult conversations about the reality of the immeasurable suffering of a people, about the callous attacks that tear children from their families and set hospitals aflame. I consider the privilege that allowed me to exist for so long without acknowledging the reality of more than 75 years of Israeli occupation. Without The Medium, would I ever have learned what I know now?

I think about the people on our team. I remember their thoughtfulness, their intellect, their resourcefulness, and their ambition. These people are leaders. They are determined, tenacious, and above all, compassionate and kind. They are the next generation of earth-shakers who will not turn a blind eye so long as they can still speak and type. I am excited to see all the phenomenal things that these people will experience and achieve in the coming years, as there are certain to be many.

I think about censorship and complacency within the walls of our university, of the altogether-too-frequent inadequacy of social policy and administration. I think about the privilege of being passive, about the wealth and history upon which this institution sits, allowing it to settle comfortably into indifference. I think about The Medium’s independence, its freedom to critique the university and the government without fear of repercussions. A freedom it has enjoyed for half a century, yet a fleeting luxury in the world of journalism today.

I think about our community of writers, and its refusal to blindly boast serenity where there is none. I think about all the students, professors, and community members who shared their stories with us, enriching our little paper into something much greater. As the school year ends, Volume 50 will be tucked away tidily into our archive, forever available for future students and community members to read and remember. I hope they recognize our efforts and appreciate our stories. I hope they recognize our mistakes and are able to do better. I hope that one day, The Medium will turn 100 years old, and though I may be 72 by then, I hope I will still be invited to the party. 

Thank you for everything.

– River Knott, Editor-in-Chief

This year has been like no other at The Medium. Our paper always held its reputation of being independent from the university, yet in October and November of last year, the paper shattered this reputation and decided to silence student voices on worldwide issues that continue to impact our student body—most notably, the ongoing genocide in Palestine. 

For years, one of the paper’s concerns was the dying audience and engagement from UTM’s student body. Even though we had more than 1,000 students signed up to our mailing lists, with hundreds more signing up each year, only a few would write for the paper. Even though we hired a videographer to produce high-quality videos, only a few would watch. Even though we recorded engaging podcast episodes, only a few would listen. But when the student body needed us most at a time when every other outlet was being silenced or complacent, The Medium wasn’t there to amplify student voices. The Medium willingly turned away students who had nothing but good intentions. The Medium confused activism for hate speech. And we thought this too would be overlooked. But it wasn’t.

The student body showed up. The editorial staff of previous volumes showed up. Members of our current editorial team showed up. People who care for the reputation of the paper—who care for student journalism and all it stands for—showed up. The Medium received criticism from all angles: Instagram stories, in-person student drop-ins, emails, you name it. For the first time in its history (or at least for a very long time), our paper was under scrutiny for a decision the editorial management team took. 

It was at this moment that River and I realized the power that the student body has over The Medium. This paper is not run by whoever sits in the Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor chairs. It is run by the student body, for the student body. It is why The Medium holds elections each year for these positions: to maintain accountability. 

Yes, The Medium had a lot of firsts this year. Not only were we under external scrutiny, but we also struggled internally with a weakened team morale. We struggled with publishing weekly content because our website kept failing on us. We struggled with promoting our content on social media because Meta platforms like Instagram and Facebook—which blocked our content due to Bill C-18—had been the number one source for all promotional content for the past couple of years. But amidst all these struggles, The Medium persevered. It persevered because of all the people who held us accountable. It persevered because we cared about its reputation and the true meaning of student journalism.

Thank you to everyone who believed in us in bringing The Medium back to its purpose. Thank you to May Alsaigh, Aya Yafaoui, Louis Lam, Hannah Grace Wang, Omar Khan, Daanish Alvi, Chris Berberian, Maja Tingchaleun, Beatriz Simas, and Belicia Chevolleau for sticking by our leadership and working with us to fix our paper’s reputation. Thank you to Omar for never giving up on the paper and for keeping us accountable. A special shoutout to Aroni Sarkar, Volume 48’s Opinion Editor, for guiding River and me and helping us steer this ship back on course. 

To the readers and contributors of The Medium, the future of this paper lays in your hands. You have the power to shape it and morph it through open criticism. Don’t be afraid of the Editorial Board, for they work for you. 

To the future Editorial Boards, thank you for the commitment to keep this paper afloat. Never take this position for granted. It is your duty and responsibility to ensure student journalism stays alive. 

– Jaros Valdes, Managing Editor 

Editor-in-Chief (Volume 50); Managing Editor (August-November, Volume 50); Copy Editor (Volume 49) — River recently completed his HBA in Political Science. He is deeply passionate about social justice and law and is always learning more by connecting with members of the UTM community. In his spare time, he can be found playing video games and jamming out on the guitar.

Managing Editor (Volume 50); Copy Editor (August-November, Volume 50); Features Editor (Volume 48) — Jaros graduated with a Professional Writing and Communications major, and a Physics and Mathematics double minor in 2021. He previously worked as the Features Editor for Volume 48. In his free time, you can catch Jaros working out at his small-town gym, curating playlists, or suffering as he defends the latest phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn.


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