The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 5th

Gripe to me, it's what I'm here for

Despite the title, the Public Editor is not an “editor.” I have no desk, no writers to look after, no salary.

In fact, I don’t really work for The Daily Tar Heel at all. I work for you.

By way of introduction, I’d like to use this column to explain how.

As Public Editor, I am this newspaper’s official critic. But I am also its most unoriginal – for the most part, the criticisms I publish will be yours.

You all, as readers of a community newspaper, are both the DTH’s audience and its subject.

That unique role gives you ownership — the right to respond to what the DTH does and engage with its content. And it makes your anxieties, thoughts and praise worth bringing to everyone’s attention.

It’s my job to make that happen, to hold the paper accountable to you, its readers, by giving you a third party channel for feedback.

On a day-to-day basis, I’ll be doing something like this:

n Representing you in the newsroom by collecting and responding to your questions, comments and concerns, and referring them back to the newsroom staff when necessary.

n Watchdoging journalistic integrity at the DTH, be it unbalanced stories, neglect of important issues or pernicious fact errors.

n And explaining why the paper does what it does, while weighing that against your reactions to it.
Let me give you a few examples.

If a number of you feel the DTH’s coverage of a particular issue, whether it’s panhandlers on Franklin Street or changes in the Greek system, has been unfair, I’ll air those concerns and respond to them with my own opinion as well as the newsroom’s.

If the DTH makes a major mistake — reporting a non-existent cut in romance language classes, for example — I’ll tell you how it happened and what the DTH should do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Or if the paper shifts its focus, from Orange County government to, say, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, I’ll be here to relay why editors made that decision, and critique their rationale.

You should know that I am not new to the DTH. I’ve worked in the newsroom as both an editor and writer up until this year, covering issues both on campus and off.

That experience has given me a good understanding of how the paper works, and, I hope, will help me liaise between you and the newsroom.

My column will appear regularly in this space, while my blog at www.dailytarheel.com will be frequently updated.
When the circumstances merit it, I’ll also set up community forums and town hall meetings to let you talk directly to editors, reporters and each other.

Of course, keeping in close communication with you will be crucial.

I encourage you to find me during my pit hours outside the Daily Grind from 1-2 p.m. on Tuesdays or 3-4 p.m. on Fridays.

You can also email me anytime at dthpubliceditor@gmail.com, comment on my columns or blog posts online, or, if you recognize me around town (picture above), stop me then.

I’m incredibly excited to do this job. I hope you all put me to work.

Evan Rose is a Public Editor for The Daily Tar Heel. He is a Classics and Economics major from New York City. Contact him at dthpubliceditor@gmail.com

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