The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Guest Column: The DTH’s staff are your peers, and we take our jobs seriously

Paige Ladisic

Editor-in-chief Paige Ladisic 

Opinion Editor Sam Schaefer gets this look in his eyes when he says The Daily Tar Heel is a watchdog for the UNC community. It’s a look of passion, drive and above all, fearlessness.

That fearlessness is what keeps us going. It’s fearlessness that could only thrive at a public liberal arts institution like UNC. But that fearlessness also seems to really piss people off.

Sometimes, I think the University at large forgets who works for The Daily Tar Heel, especially when we do something many aren’t pleased with. No, we’re not all future News & Observer reporters, as many of our online commenters would tell you. We’re UNC students. We are part of the 29,000. And we are critical of our university and our community because we should be.

The Daily Tar Heel is staffed by roughly 200 UNC students, both graduate and undergraduate, when at full force. Those staffers include student-athletes and Morehead-Cain and Robertson Scholars. Our staffers aren’t just journalism majors — they’re students across all majors and departments. We have students in political organizations, volunteering at nonprofits across Orange County, performing in plays or even writing them. We are not as diverse as we might like, but we acknowledge it and are striving to represent our community.

Every day, I interact with staffers who I know are smarter and more talented than I am, and soon we’ll be welcoming 100 more — there are a lot of us. And we are fearless.

When you wonder who works for The Daily Tar Heel, who wrote that crazy editorial, who edited that story on the front page, it’s someone who might be sitting next to you in class, or passing by you in the quad, or standing behind you in line at Alpine, or pulling an all-nighter in the UL. If you don’t like our message, that’s your choice — but think about the people you’re criticizing when you send a nasty email or post on social media. DTH staffers aren’t that different from anyone else.

Through three years at The Daily Tar Heel and at UNC, I’ve found one thing to be true: When the DTH criticizes the University, many don’t feel that we have the right.

We’re UNC students, so we should support our University in its efforts to move forward from the academic-athletic scandal, cheer for our athletes in every situation and always think that it’s a #GDTBATH.

But UNC has encouraged all of us, DTH or not, to be more than that. I take that responsibility seriously. We dig deep into all the facets of the academic scandal reports, we report on our athletes when they make mistakes and we admit when we are disappointed with our school.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the staffers and editors at The Daily Tar Heel, it’s that they aren’t willing to settle for less than what we know UNC is capable of.

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