The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Sometimes nine heads are better than one

Writing opinion pieces is rewarding for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the idea that I might articulate an idea well enough to persuade a complete stranger to take my side on an issue. As a college journalist, the idea that this reader might be my professor, the barista at the Daily Grind or — best of all — the kid sitting next to me in class is nothing short of thrilling.

But it can also be terrifying, especially when I consider how thoroughly ignorant I am of many of my subjects before I set out to write about them. I do my best, of course, to learn what I need to learn, to look at the issue from multiple perspectives and to dot the I’s and cross the T’s of journalism.

Ultimately, however, what is so scary about writing opinion is precisely what makes it so fun: I have to make a judgment. And as every college student knows, our judgment is sometimes flawed.

The opinion page at The Daily Tar Heel is an attempt at reaching what we think is the correct judgment, just an approximation of what is right. But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t believe an approximation was better than nothing at all.

And in any case, two heads are better than one — or nine heads, as is the case with the editorial board. Together we do our best to keep a pulse on the UNC community as well as that of Chapel Hill.

We analyze the issues we think are most relevant to the readers of this paper, and we hope to offer a perspective that will help the readers of the DTH better understand an issue, whether they agree with us or not.

One topic I hope to address from a variety of angles this semester is the changing role of the University in today’s withering economic climate. In a world in which most people’s primary concern is the bottom line, what is the value, if any, of a liberal arts education?

I happen to believe such an education still holds immense value, perhaps now more than ever. But I’m curious to hear what other, more knowledgeable people think about it, and I hope this page can be a forum for that conversation.

Meanwhile, as the editorial board attempts to take on this theme and nearly everything (in Chapel Hill) in between, from UNC sports to local politics, the opinion page’s columnists will zero in on topics with which they are intimately familiar. Eclectic though their pursuits may be, these columnists are alike in their passion for the subjects they’ve chosen to write about.

I hope the opinion page under my leadership will answer some questions, and I hope it will raise even more. Together with the letters to the editor, guest columns from community members and, of course, a weekly dose of kvetches, the page has the potential to be a sounding board for both the UNC campus and the town of Chapel Hill.

Even better, it can serve as a medium for the intersection and overlap between these two communities. The DTH has a unique role as both a student publication and a news source for a non-student community. I hope to make the most of the opportunities and privileges this role affords.

Maggie Zellner is the opinion editor of The Daily Tar Heel. She is a junior comparative literature major from Lynchburg, Va. Contact her at

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