Letter from the Opinion Editor: On staff editorials

Regular readers of The Daily Gamecock may have noticed a difference in the opinion section last week.

The editorial staff made a conscious decision not to publish our regular staff editorials.

“Ed boards,” as they are nicknamed in the newsroom, are a written expression of the majority opinion of the editors who compile the content of that paper. They are written by either the opinion editor or assistant opinion editor after a discussion held on the topic. All editors are present, and they tackle the biggest news stories of the day.

However, in reflecting on the previous semester and planning for the next semester, the editorial staff has decided to no longer publish staff editorials in every regular issue of the paper.

This is a major change in our practices and one that was not undertaken lightly. Editorials are a crucial part of every newspaper and serve as the conscience and the voice of the staff. This decision is the result of much deliberation.

Although we strive to be rigidly objective with our reporting, we all have opinions on the stories we cover. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human. Many of the stories we cover affect us just as much as they affect our readership, and we view staff editorials as a way to express our opinions without prejudicing our coverage.

We also believe in editorial authority — the idea that our newspaper should hold people accountable by praising, criticizing or calling them to action based on what our reporting reflects. Our news editor is never a participant in the discussion but lays out our reporting on the given topic so our staff can express informed opinions.

The largest issues that we tackle with our editorials often produce the most discord on our staff. The editorials we print are sometimes limited by the constraints of the medium — that we are expected to speak with one voice on every issue.

Just as pretending we have a unified opinion on every story we cover would be unsatisfactory for our readers, suppressing our strongly-held opinions on our reporting of issues that affect the student body would betray our duty as journalists.

Thus, we will not abandon our staff editorials entirely. We have decided that while we will no longer have a daily staff editorial, we will continue to express our opinion as a staff when we can provide readers a clear, useful and consensus opinion that is worth reading.

However, the viewpoints that we always want to hear most are those of our readers. Send us your feedback on our decision so we can get your opinions as well.

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