The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 19th

Column: Meet your opinion editor

2018 was, well, a year.

But if there’s anything I learned from 2018, is that with every setback, with every event that made us want to throw our hands in the air and give up, community members emerged and turned the setbacks into something powerful. Silent Sam led to brave student activism. Mass shootings led to national movements. Political turmoil led to the most diverse House of Representatives in U.S. history. 

And that’s what I’m taking with me into 2019: a strong belief in the community and the people in it. 

I’m starting out the year as the new opinion editor. (The Editorial Board voted to impeach Alec Dent, our former opinion editor, because he dislikes memes and “The Office.”) The opinion page is the center of the Chapel Hill community, offering a place for discussions on topics that directly affect us. It’s the soul of the paper and the community. Running that is a responsibility that Elisa Kadackal, our new assistant opinion editor, and I hold seriously. 

In a time as polarized as ever, it’s crucial to have a place for civil debates and reflections on our community and beyond. An opinion page should expose readers to diverse points of view, which they are welcome to contend or disagree with in guest columns and letters to the editor. 

But as an editor, I am responsible for moderating the discussions playing out on the opinion page. There’s a fine line between upholding free speech by publishing both sides of an argument and giving offensive views a platform. It’s a line that I’m still trying to draw, and one that national media outlets are as well. I’m going to mess this up sometimes, and all I can ask is for our readers to let me know when I do. 

Feedback from our community, whether it’s through letters to the editor, comments or guest op-eds, are an integral part of the conversation. And I hope to engage our readers by focusing on local issues. What happens on and off campus directly affects us, and I aim for the opinion page to help our readers analyze the local news. 

Two women of color are running a desk at The Daily Tar Heel. That’s a big deal for me. It’s a step in the right direction toward diversifying the DTH staff, but there is still work to be done. As I said in a column last year, an opinion page can only be its best if it represents its community. I encourage students of all backgrounds and experiences to apply and enrich the opinion page. 

The Chapel Hill community has proven its strength in adversity time and time again. I’m excited to see who and what will be the catalysts for change in 2019 – what will be the next movement, who will emerge as the next leader?  No matter how it plays out, the opinion page will be here to provide insightful commentary on it. 

If you are interested in joining our page or want to contact us, I encourage you to reach out to Elisa and I at opinion@dailytarheel.com

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