This summer, I was given the opportunity to do some freelance reporting for a Los Angeles NPR affiliate where I was interning. I had pitched a story idea about young people and financial illiteracy, my mind filled with images of myself tracking down California school board members, scrutinizing failed legislation and shedding new light on the economic crisis.
Instead, my editor told me to talk to my mom. She suggested framing the issue from my family’s experience. And from my own perspective.
If anything, my three years at Wesleyan had been focused on superseding personal views: as a sociology major, I’ve sought to examine the cultural roots of why we live in a polarized, stratified society. As a writer and editor for The Argus, I’ve relied on facts to provide our community thorough, balanced reporting. And anyway, I was just an intern, how interesting could my point of view be?
What do they mean my perspective? I thought. I want the facts!
But a nationally-syndicated news program doesn’t want just the facts. What they wanted was the original, unusual angle, supported by personal and experience and data-based facts. And as a 21-year-old in an office of those twice my age, I suddenly realized that my own experiences with money management might say more than an interview with an administrator ever could.
So what does all this have to do with you?
This semester The Argus is bringing you our first Op-Ed section. Op-Ed will be a bi-weekly section of the paper showcasing campus’ most original, articulate, informed and personal thinking. Wesleyan is an excellent university that deserves not just an excellent newspaper, but an excellent space in which students, faculty, alumni and other members of the community can write about and discuss issues of the day in this pivotal time for both our campus and the world beyond the University.
The Wespeaks section has provided and will continue to provide an outlet for our community unabridged. Op-Ed, on the other hand, will be more focused, with more extensive, structured pieces that read less like a debate and more like a discussion. The section seeks to stimulate an exchange of ideas, expressing our myriad interests and experiences while uniting us in our shared passion and curiosity.
Through weekly columns and individual pieces, Op-Ed invites professors, students and other members of the Wesleyan community to draw on their knowledge and experiences—personal, professional and academic—to share perspectives and ideas that until now might not have emerged in the classroom or the dorm room. Op-Ed will be a new forum for sharing your story instead of simply reacting to those of others.
You don’t have to be the most outspoken of your friends or have marched in rallies to write an Op-Ed piece. And illuminating an issue you’re passionate about isn’t just about compiling what other authorities have to say. Start with your most overlooked ideas—your own.
At The Argus, we want the facts. Op-Ed wants them channeled through your experiences.