The Evolution of The Spectator

October 05, 2020


By Ryan Comishock ’22

We sat down with Mr. Kettering, School Librarian, to discuss how The Spectator, our student newspaper, has changed throughout the hundreds of years of school here at SSM. With predecessors such as the Shattuck Times there has been a newspaper running here before 1877. The Spectator celebrated its 75th anniversary during Mr. Kettering’s time as advisor in the 1980’s. Article topics have ranged over the years from new machine guns in the Armory, all the way to new Netflix shows. In Mr. Kettering’s first year here in 1978 he says, “The Spectator had its own department, it’s own space, it had the Crow’s Nest Upstairs [in the Hirst library].” Not only that, but The Spectator had a staff of eight to twelve students who had specific jobs like photography and editing. The Spectator is a long way from that at this point in its history, but that could all just be due to the ups and downs of the school. With the Journalism class now writing articles, it could provide a new life to the paper. Not only has the size of the staff shrunk but the amount of actual paper issues has as well. Back in the 1900’s The Spectator was releasing a paper copy every one to two weeks. Now The Spectator is down to about three to four paper copies per year.

Mr. Kettering’s favorite article in his time as advisor was about ravine dumping. He explains, “ All along the ravine there were three or four places where they would just pull up and just throw stuff down into the ravine. There was one area that was a yard waste dump at St. Mary’s Hall. Which I suppose that’s fine, it’s all biodegradable. But there was a dump right behind Whipple Hall. Right there that was a big dumping sight. If you go look down there in the spring, you can probably still see stuff. There was a vehicle down there that was partially buried, … a piano, and there were all these metal barrels and cans. It was just the school’s policy.” This investigative article carried so much weight that SSM had to officially stop ravine dumping at the school. Keep in mind this was written during the time of floppy disks and box Mac computers.

Now that SSM has multiple different publications like the Whipple Weekly and Through the Arch thanks to the Marketing and Communication Department of the school, The Spectator’s workload has really shrunk. They may not be the military or football based articles of the past, but if you stay in the past then you will always be curious about the future.

  • Historic Spectator
  • Shattuck Military Uniforms