Sep 152011
 
Authors: Sam Noblett

As Editor in Chief, my job is to be the public face of the newspaper. In light of recent events, I felt I needed to address the purpose of the Opinion page. Unfortunately, that means today this letter replaces Our View, the staff editorial by the Collegian Editorial Board.

As a community newspaper, our job is to be the voice of the community. The Opinion page is meant to voice opinions within the community. The people who write on this page are representing only their personal opinions, not the views of the entire newspaper.

Basically, the point of the Opinion page is to spark discussion. To do that, you have to hear opinions you may not agree with. To balance that, we try to provide an outlet for as many different opinions as possible.

The way we approach doing this is by hiring a few people who represent a broad range of viewpoints, from many majors, different years and different backgrounds. Think of this like a survey; we do our best to take a small sample of the university’s entire population.

When a column comes forward with a controversial viewpoint causing a significant dissenting opinion, we may draw from the community to represent the opposing side of the argument. That’s the purpose of Letters to the Editor and guest columns.

A columnist differs from a reporter in a very fundamental way. While a news story approaches a topic from a news or analysis perspective with a focus on objectivity, a column is based on opinion and personal experiences.

A columnist may approach a topic from a completely subjective and biased viewpoint if they choose. And they may talk about their personal experiences, rather than reporting with the goal of objectivity.

However, the most important part of what a columnist does is to start or continue discussion. Sometimes, that may mean stirring up the pot a little. But the most important part is that the issue be discussed.

A column is not meant to be a statement, but rather, the beginning of a discussion.

Editor in Chief Sam Noblett is a junior liberal arts major. Feedback can be sent to editor@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:50 pm

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