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The Daily Tar Heel

2023 has been one hell of a year. A look back at the Editorial Board’s coverage over the past 12 months might give you some idea as to why.

Our role, as the Editorial Board, has remained relatively constant throughout time: We act as a voice for the UNC and Chapel Hill area and reflect what our community cares about. We aim to be holistic in our commentary and consider multiple viewpoints when we meet each week before releasing an opinion or calling for change. We also acknowledge that we are not able to comment on everything and we have, at times, overlooked important issues

For this reason, we feel compelled to reflect on what we have covered in 2023 — and what we missed.  

What we covered

We began this year talking about the dignity of labor and the important work of UNC housekeepers. We advocated for a living wage, and did it again more directly, urging the University to pay service workers what they deserve. This has yet to happen.

We sought accountability of politicians when we said “Go to Hell, Tricia Cotham” after the representative's disingenuous switch to the Republican party after running as a Democratic candidate. 

One of our most assertive editorials came after the announcement of the School of Civic Life and Leadership, which we argued was another “example of ideological combativeness.” This editorial provided a model for how we want to approach similarly relevant, contentious news. It laid out all of our reasonings for opposing the ideological reasons for introducing the school and made clear calls for action from the University. 

At the beginning of this semester, we were thrown into coverage about not one, but two gun-related threats on campus. We tried to handle this unprecedented coverage with care, while also calling for much-needed action from our University and politicians, echoing the sentiments of our campus and opinion columnists.

In our 2023 municipal elections preview, we researched and interviewed candidates to form our endorsements. The Editorial Board came together to collectively endorse those who we believed would strongly represent the Chapel Hill-Carborro community and commit to policy interests that we felt were of utmost importance. 

We closed out the year with further discussion of increasing benefits for essential workers at UNCMorehead Cain's inclusion of sophomores, municipal election endorsements and a denouncement of gerrymandering

What we missed 

Despite this variety of topics, we also failed to address news that was critical to our community. For example, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action with UNC as a defendant, we did not put out an editorial. We regret that we did not weigh in, given that the affirmative action battle was on our very own campus and the decision would deeply affect the future of our community. 

More recently, the opinion desk published many op-eds about the war in Gaza, but we, the Editorial Board, did not publish an opinion about the situation. We debated writing an editorial but could not come to a consensus in a timely manner, in large part due to the sensitivity of the war. 

But, we shouldn’t shy away from sensitive topics. Our editorials should provide space to explore the nuances of these issues. 

Lack of coverage on important issues often came down to whether we as an Editorial Board felt that we could adequately do justice or provide nuance to the topic. However, if we don't write about the events close to the UNC student body, who will? As one of few student groups with a platform to express an opinion while also providing information, it is important for us to do our best to cover topics we know our community cares about.  

Looking ahead

In the coming year, we will not shy away. It is our role to provide a perspective formed not just by one person, but by a group of students committed to accountability and fairness. 

2024 is an election year, making it a critical time for us to strengthen an important aspect of our work: political endorsements. We want to use our platform to thoroughly inform our readers, scrutinize candidates’ policy plans and hold them to our community’s values and the causes they claim to champion. 

Furthermore, in reflecting on our recent election preview, we want to include more perspectives from community members in our endorsement process and directly engage in conversations about their priorities. 

Going into the new year, we hope, as always, to continue to provide important, timely and impactful commentary while embracing our core values of integrity, accountability, creativity and fairness. We don’t know what next year will bring, but we are excited to keep giving you our (unsolicited) opinions.

@dthopinion | opinion@dailytarheel.com

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