Ending DACA hurts student journalism

The only requirements I have for people wanting to join The Daily Tar Heel are that they work hard, are willing to learn about journalism and contribute to the nearly 125-year-old mission to accurately report the news. If you have those three things, our editing staff can teach the rest.  

We welcomed over 100 new writers yesterday, at the same time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration would be suspending DACA — an act which helped thousands of students obtain a degree of higher education. 

As the editor of this newspaper and leader of a student organization, I cannot remain silent as powers well above my own aim to limit the people who could potentially work at this paper or attend UNC. 

As long as I am editor of this paper, we will be a home for anyone wanting to tell valuable stories, take photos, design layouts or write opinions — regardless of background, orientation or any other identity. 

I am speaking for myself as the leader of this paper in defense of the values I hold most dear about this paper: an educational mission, a drive to give voice to ignored or marginalized groups and the willingness to be controversial when the time calls for it. 

The three requirements I have for my staff are not universal. Working at this paper isn’t easy or for everyone. Our reporters are constantly working on stories, and many editors including myself, have averaged over 40 hours of work each week on top of being students — and we like doing it. 

If someone is willing to put in that level of dedication, they deserve the shot. I don’t see why the place of their birth or their parent’s decision to move should hinder someone in a pursuit to get involved in student journalism. 

If you have the aptitude and work ethic to make it in this office, then that’s all I care about. 

Ultimately, this column is to say that The Daily Tar Heel will continue being as inclusive as we can be. 

Diversity is simply good for journalism. The Daily Tar Heel has long perpetuated a mostly-white, liberal culture, which leads to many, painfully obvious holes in some of our stories. We want writers from different backgrounds, including but not limited to undocumented students wanting to be journalists. 

I don’t think the editor of this paper should be needlessly political, and I don’t think I am. Making undocumented students feel unsafe has a direct impact on people who work for me, people who may work for the DTH in the future and the quality of journalism we can produce. 

That said, we will still strive to give all viewpoints on DACA fair coverage. My writings here do not reflect the opinions of my staff. 

I’ll leave writing subjectively about politics to opinion writers and our commenters on most future issues. 

But if someone aims to hinder members, or future members, of this paper’s ability to learn, I will not remain silent. 

Thanks for reading.

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