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

Cultivating diversity of thought means actively listening to you

Lorianne Willett
Editor-in-chief candidate Mihir Gokhale in the architecture courtyard on Feb. 13, 2024.

Editor’s note: Mihir Gokhale is a candidate to be the next Daily Texan editor-in-chief. Candidates were given the following prompt: “How will you ensure there’s a diversity of thought within the newspaper’s opinion department that accurately reflects the campus community?” 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.  

As UT’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Texan is responsible for representing our vibrant campus community with intentionality and consistency. Fifty-thousand Longhorns each bring a unique perspective to Austin, and our job is to spotlight their stories carefully and thoughtfully. It’s not our place to judge or impose beliefs, but to instead tap into the incredible diversity of people and perspectives on campus. 

This is where the Texan’s opinion department comes in. By fighting for your needs, showcasing your concerns and emphasizing your experiences, the opinion department exists to serve you continuously and unrelentingly. Yet, more must be done for this department to truly work for all facets of the student body. Diversity of thought is quintessential to a representative newsroom, and the Texan has often struggled to achieve this. As Editor-in-Chief, I will look outward to the campus community to ensure more students feel supported by and relate to our coverage. 

Strengthening our commitment to inclusivity begins with the recruitment process. Columnists are the lifeblood of the opinion department, and the Texan’s Editor-in-Chief must actively invite students from diverse identities and backgrounds into the conversation. By establishing deeper rapport with more student organizations and directly connecting with marginalized voices, we will welcome columnists who enrich our coverage of sensitive and policy-oriented topics. 

In today’s polarizing climate, newsrooms must prioritize genuine and healthy discourse on wide-ranging issues. Platforming some writers and not others based on preconceptions is a disservice to you. As Editor-in-Chief, I will showcase viewpoints that uphold respectful representation, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with them. Moreover, my decisions on who to hire and what to publish will always be made collaboratively and with careful consideration of multiple perspectives. 

Cultivating diversity of thought doesn’t stop when recruitment ends. By hosting semesterly workshops on respectful sourcing and conscious interviewing techniques, I will equip columnists with resources to center communities traditionally excluded from the Texan’s purview. Through an open environment where the editorial board emphasizes continuous community input, editorials will remain grounded in more student groups. By publishing a set of forum pieces at least three times per month, we will enhance constructive dialogue between and among our audiences.

Maintaining a representative newsroom requires an intentional and continuous commitment. It’s more than checking a box or satisfying a condition. With accountability and empathy in mind, this department will remain accessible to everyone on campus. 

Above all, representing the campus community means actively listening to you. 

“Starting off with a diverse team in terms of their background, their education, their age … will determine the type of approach writers would take in terms of how to investigate a story or how to write a story. … Having that diverse perspective from the start would help a lot more than any outreach efforts.” 

— Resul Ovezov, economics and electrical/computer engineering sophomore and Student Government representative.

“It’s important to cover not only events that are going on in our community, but also to showcase different research. … There’s a lot of interesting research. A lot of interesting clubs and projects. … It’s important to showcase those projects … not only diversity of different opinions … but also diverse topics. Interesting research in computer science, biology, chemistry, history, finance. … It’s really important to have all of those represented.” 

— Harshal Bharatia, computer science and mathematics sophomore.

“You have to approach people in such a way where they wouldn’t be intimidated. … The very first thing should be breaking that barrier to avoid them feeling impostor syndrome. … Especially if you’re underrepresented in the campus … you might be a little more scared to put yourself out there. Once you have encouraged people to apply, then you really will have a diverse body of people.” 

— Akanksha Arvind, electrical/computer engineering junior.

Your voice matters, and I will work relentlessly to seek out and uplift it.

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.