Daily Texan best serves UT by focusing on investigation, interpretation

Liza Anderson

The Daily Texan is the only newspaper dedicated to reporting on the University of Texas. As such, it has a unique responsibility to the students of this university. If something happens at UT, it’s our job to notice. It’s our job to investigate — and also to explain — how this school works. This is where the Editor-in-Chief comes in.  

Where the news department reports the news, the opinion department interprets and assesses it. The Editor-in-Chief directly oversees the opinion department at the Texan, as well as recruiting. The opinion department should serve as a platform for students to weigh in on issues that affect the UT community. As Editor-in-Chief, I will accomplish this by focusing on investigative editorials, grounded opinion content and open recruitment. 

UT is a massive and complex university. Policies and guidelines students might never have even heard of can have an immense impact on our lives, and the editorial board should combat this by producing regular, investigative editorials about questions that have real consequences for students: Where does your tuition go? What is UT’s definition of consent, and how is it implemented in practice? How does UT’s disciplinary process work? How does UT address student mental health? 

Editorials, columns written by the five members of the editorial board, make up a significant part of opinion content. The editorial board has the potential to be a potent advocate for students, and it should focus on addressing and explaining many of the issues that shape student life. 

The role of the editorial board, like the role of the rest of the paper, should be investigating, explaining and interpreting the policies that govern life at this university.

The bulk of opinion content is written by student columnists. These columnists have a unique opportunity to speak for the UT community, and we should focus on that community when we write. We need to focus on issues affecting UT campus and student life — like grading policies and accessibility on campus. By instituting more journalism training within the opinion department, we can strengthen our arguments and better advocate for improvements to University life. 

Finally, the Texan needs to focus on recruiting more actively. There remains a belief on this campus that the Texan isn’t open to students of all backgrounds and beliefs, and we need to push back against this by recruiting more openly. 

Specifically, we need to make applying to the Texan easier by expanding our online presence and making the application steps more clear. Next, we need to actively seek out students that might not otherwise come to us by speaking directly to groups on campus that feel unwelcome at the Texan.  

The next Editor-in-Chief of the Texan needs to focus on clarifying the complicated institutions and policies that influence life at UT, and I believe I am qualified to do exactly that. I began at the Texan as an entry-level staffer in the design department my freshman year. Since then, I spent two semesters writing for the opinion department, an entire year in design, two semesters on the editorial board and one semester as a forum editor for opinion — in just two years. I love this paper, and I believe that it can do wonderful work for this campus. 

Anderson is a Plan II and history sophomore from Houston.