Opinion | Staff Editorials

Editorial board 101

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Say Cheese! | Back row (l-r): Julian Noisecat, CC ’15, Dan Garisto, CC ’16, Josh Boggs, SEAS ’15, Luna Rey, CC ’17, Steven Lau, CC ’15, Nellie Gayle, BC ’15. Front row (l-r): Liam Bland, CC ’15, Margaret Mattes, CC ’15, Katie Cacouris, CC ’15, Ben Gittelson, CC ’15, Abby Abrams, BC ’15, Christina Huang, SEAS ’15. Not pictured: Gilbert Garbiso, GS ’15.

If you’re new to Columbia or the finer points of newspapers, you might be asking yourself, “What does the editorial board do?” To be brief, we write staff editorials.

Every staff editorial is a synthesis of opinions from members of the editorial board. In the past, they have covered issues ranging from Columbia’s sexual assault policy to sorority dues.

Each semester, Spectator’s editorial board is reconstituted to prevent stagnant opinions. That change means new members, new perspectives, and a new focus. This semester is different: Spectator as a whole is going through major changes in its transition to a digital focus, and the editorial board is no exception.

First and foremost, we’ve decided to cut down on the number of staff editorials from three to two per week to improve quality and eliminate superfluous editorials. In a regular week, we’ll be publishing staff editorials on Tuesday and Thursday. In addition to commenting on current events, we will seek to address larger issues that are enduring, like Columbia’s expansion into Manhattanville. Finally, we will be attempting to “dig deeper.” This means more investigative work, more research, and more discussion on our part.

But why should you care what we have to say?

All staff editorials will still be the product of long discussions, and they will still be subject to hours of editing by the members of the editorial board. In short, digitization will not change our purpose—to comment regularly and productively on topics salient to Columbia and the surrounding community.

In past semesters, the editorial board has introduced itself by emphasizing the breadth of its members’ interests and hobbies. This semester, we want to stress the variety of ways in which we engage with Columbia, because that is what is truly relevant.

Some of us work and have worked within student government to effect change. Others have been deeply involved in the theater community. We have made our mark in multicultural groups and religious organizations. Greek life, academic committees, and other publications are not strangers to us.

The point of this diversity of approach is to create an editorial board that is not only the voice of Spectator, but also a voice for the larger community. While other college papers have editorial boards comprised of members solely from within the paper, Spectator does not. This year, the vast majority of our board has never been on Spectator’s staff. With this composition, we hope to provide opinions that are relevant to and serve all of our readers—from students to administrators and faculty to residents of Morningside Heights and West Harlem.

That is not to say we will always mirror the thoughts of the larger community.

But we are representatives from various walks of campus life who meet together and have serious discussions. We hope that because of this, you will look to our opinions with some interest—not necessarily to follow them, but to be informed by them.

It is always a challenge to combine various perspectives, but throughout this semester, we will strive to set forth strong opinions. Whether or not you agree with your positions, we hope you will take a look at what we have to say and let us know what you think in the comments online.

Meet the editorial board »

To respond to this staff editorial, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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