For all of you just arriving to the University of Minnesota, welcome to campus, and welcome to The Minnesota Daily. As I am sure you realize, what you are holding is a copy of the University’s campus newspaper.
What you may not know is that the Daily is widely regarded as one of the best student newspapers in the country, and has been for decades. You might also not realize that the paper is run entirely by students. They sell the ads, write the stories, shoot the photos and design the pages. The Daily is independent of the University, and the student staff has full control over its content.
As a University student, you will probably get in the habit of picking up a Daily whenever you are on campus. This is a good idea, because the Daily is clearly the best source of news and information about issues affecting students and the University.
The Daily can be different things to different people, and it serves many functions. Its primary function is to be a source of news and information. But it can also occasionally be a source of irritation. Even though the staff usually does a professional job and exercises good judgment, there are times when errors are made, when stories are flawed and when boundaries are stretched too far.
That’s where I come in. As the Daily’s readers’ representative, my role is to monitor the content of the paper and to let the staff know when I think they have made a mistake. I do this through informal discussions and through this column, which runs every other Monday during the school year.
An even more important role of mine, however, is communicating your thoughts about the paper to the staff. The staff sincerely wants to know what readers are thinking, and they expect to be taken to task when they make mistakes. It’s my job to take complaints from you and to make sure they are heard by the staff and that corrections are made, if necessary. (When corrections are necessary, they run on page two of the paper.)
Of course, compliments are just as welcome, and if you want to acknowledge a particularly good story, column, photo or cartoon, you can send those my way as well.
One new feature that you will notice in the Daily this fall is that reporters will include their e-mail addresses at the end of their stories. If you have a complaint, suggestion or compliment, or even a story idea, you will be able to send those straight to the source.
In addition to being a source of news and information, the Daily also serves as a forum for opinions and candid discussions about the issues affecting students, faculty and staff members. Each issue of the Daily has an Editorial page, which contains an editorial written by the Daily’s editorial board, letters to the editor and often one or two political cartoons. The Opinions page also appears in nearly every issue and contains both staff-written columns and submitted opinions pieces from students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
The goal of these pages is to provide as much space for opinions and discussion as possible. But these pages are as much yours as they are the Daily’s, and it’s up to you to supply their content.
If you have something to get off your chest, or if you were annoyed by an article or column that you saw, write a letter to the editor. The letters section is your forum. If you have a more topical or detailed opinion to express, write a piece for the opinions page.
The best way to submit a letter or opinion piece is via e-mail. For letters, space is a concern, so keep them short and sweet. Include your name, year in school and major (if you have one) and a phone number where you can be reached and send it to [email protected] For opinions pieces, more space is available, but try to keep them under 1,000 words and send them to [email protected]
Submissions can also be made through snail mail to: 2301 University Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414, or by fax to (612) 627-4159. You can also reach me by phone at (612) 627-4080, ext. 3282.
I hope you keep reading the Daily as part of your efforts to stay informed about the issues affecting your life. And when you can’t pick up a copy, remember that the Daily can be read from anywhere in the world via the Internet at www.daily.umn.edu.
Welcome to campus and have a great year.
Erik Ugland is the Daily’s readers’ representative. He welcomes comments to [email protected]