The seperation of news and opinion

While the newsroom strives for objectivity and balance, the opinions department seeks to foster debate.

Frances Zerr

At the Daily, we are continuously dealing with our readership’s concerns and questions about content. I would like to take some time to explain to you the difference between the editorials and opinions department and the rest of the newsroom.

The opinions department operates completely separate from the newsroom. The intentions of the newsroom, that is all the Daily’s reporters and editors, is to provide readers with objective and balanced news reporting that is unbiased and unpartisan.

However, the opinions department serves an opposite purpose. Our main goal is to provide our readers with well-researched opinion writing that will foster and further debate about issues that are important to our readers.

When you read an editorial, you are reading the debated opinions of our editorial board.

This board is composed of four students who represent a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, are studying in different areas at the University and have their own opinions, as well as myself and Anna Weggel, the Daily’s editor in chief.

We meet twice each week to debate how we feel about certain news topics, and develop a cumulative argument in hopes of representing part of the varied culture of opinions at our University. The editorial board writes for different reasons:

To explain both sides of an issue and use background information and hard facts to support our angle on a topic, to inform our readers of topics that aren’t covered in the news section of the Daily or that readers may otherwise not hear of, or to commend a person, event, or activity.

When you read a column, you are reading the sole opinion of that columnist. I hire columnists on the basis that they have the knowledge and passion to provide a deeper critical insight into problems and issues facing students and our readership.

Letters to the editor and guest columns are representative of the sole opinion of their author. I am continually seeking guest columns that oppose the viewpoints of the editorial board and hired columnists.

Most importantly, the opinions pages serve as a place to foster debate. That is, our function is not to mediate opinions, but to create opinions.

There should be some columns and editorials that you disagree with. When this happens, please take the time to send me a rebuttal argument in the form of a letter or guest column.

Our writings should serve as a jumping-off point for your own opinions and should encourage you to dig deeper into issues you particularly care about.

Also, it is my true desire to represent all sides of an issue in argumentative debate, even if my personal opinion doesn’t align with everything. The more we talk, the more we can progress toward the best solution.

The opinions department should serve as a check on our state and national governments, our University administration, and the day-to-day events of our society.

While the newsrooms of papers everywhere continue to strive for objectivity and balance, the opinions section of the Daily will continue pursuit of credible and argumentative opinion writing in order to foster debate within our readership.

Fran Zerr welcomes your comments at [email protected]