Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The Daily Texan must amplify, connect student voices

Lorianne Willett
Editor-in-chief candidate Mihir Gokhale in the Tower foyer on Tuesday.

Editor’s note: Mihir Gokhale is a candidate to be the next Daily Texan editor-in-chief. For this column, candidates were asked to present their platform and vision for the Texan. This piece ran alongside another by his opposing candidate, McKenzie Henningsen. Voting begins Feb. 26 and runs through Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., be sure to cast your ballot at to weigh in on who should be the next editor-in-chief.  

Since its inception in 1900, The Daily Texan has maintained a steady presence as the University’s student-run newspaper. 124 years later, the Texan’s historical tradition is alive and well, endeavoring to serve 50,000 students and the broader Austin area. From uncovering faculty misconduct to explaining policies like the reversal of affirmative action, this paper can do phenomenal work for the community. 

Above all, the Texan exists to give you — the student body — a voice on campus. Ours is a space for students to be seen and heard, a platform to share their experiences and perspectives freely. Yet, the Texan has historically failed to tap into the incredible diversity of people and perspectives at UT, at times becoming detached from the community we aim to serve. As Editor-in-Chief, I will ensure more voices in our student body feel empowered by the newsroom while facilitating consensus on contentious issues. 

The Texan’s Editor-in-Chief manages the opinion department, which plays an integral role in listening to and advocating for students. Our ability to showcase diverse perspectives, spotlight community concerns and hold the University accountable through columns, editorials and forum submissions is considerable. Achieving this discourse respectfully and inclusively is a core tenet of my platform. 

First, in a charged election year and with the passage of legislation like SB 17, the opinion department must examine politically sensitive issues and their impacts on the student body. This starts with opening up the Texan to minoritized communities and historically underrepresented identities. We need to expand outreach with student organizations and stakeholders, inviting those students unaware or apprehensive of the Texan to share their stories with the newsroom. To truly advance representative positions on pressing policies, we must first give those most affected a seat at the table. 

By expanding the conversation, I also hope to forge common ground on divisive issues. There exists today a harmful tendency to automatically group viewpoints into opposing ideological categories. Acknowledging the middle ground between arguments, such as those related to housing or transportation, is crucial to bringing together the campus community. Let me be clear: there is a time and place to be unequivocal. Bigotry and hate speech do not belong here. But whenever possible, the opinion department must rise above the rancor to cultivate reconciliation.

Even amidst polarization, productive and equitable outcomes require consensus. I believe this is accomplished most effectively through writing that is innovative in its interpretation and delivery. By encouraging columnists to write point-counterpoint columns, we can promote dynamic discourse on topics that don’t always have a this-or-that solution. Through editorials that prioritize audience immersion, we will reflect a breadth of campus experiences rather than an echo chamber of ideas. And by widening the forum team’s reach, we will maintain an authentic dialogue with various facets of the UT community. 

Now more than ever, the opinion department must actively engage with a wide spectrum of ideas. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with a particular perspective, we must cover it fairly and accurately. In doing so, we can move forward with a better understanding of each other’s experiences. We can confront issues from a position of relative unity, even if outright agreement isn’t always possible. 

Through coverage that emphasizes accountability and empathy, the opinion department will connect the collective and individual hopes of a student body whose resiliency is never in short supply. 

The next Editor-in-Chief of the Texan needs to shape the newsroom’s coverage around amplifying and connecting our student body. Having worked in the Texan as an opinion columnist, associate opinion editor and associate managing editor across five semesters, I believe I am qualified to lead these initiatives. I know the power of student journalism, and I know this paper can provide genuine hope and drive tangible progress. Ultimately, that vision is only achievable when you — the student body — are placed top of mind. 

Gokhale is a finance sophomore from Allen, Texas.

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About the Contributors
Mihir Gokhale, Associate Opinion Editor
Mihir Gokhale is a second-year student from Allen, Texas majoring in finance and minoring in economics and government. He currently serves as an Associate Opinion Editor and was previously the Texan's Associate Managing Editor.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.