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

Opinion writing requires a nuanced, creative approach

Lorianne Willett
Editor-in-chief candidate McKenzie Henningsen in main mall on Feb. 13, 2024.

Editor’s note: McKenzie Henningsen 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 her opposing candidate, Mihir Gokhale. 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 a newspaper, The Daily Texan’s primary obligation is to the truth. The opinion department publishes inherently biased pieces, providing our interpretations of news and pressing issues. However, accuracy and fairness are still the basis of everything we stand for. Opinion and truth can coexist within the Texan. 

Our pursuit of truth must take the form of a nuanced, thoughtful conversation. 

Newsrooms have the power to challenge common ideas, and inviting varied perspectives is crucial to maintaining productive discourse. We will publish work that accurately and fairly reflects the UT community, including the wide range of views on our campus. 

The first step to ensuring this diversity of thought within the opinion department is to guarantee our platform is available to the entire campus community. The Daily Texan has made significant progress in representing individuals from marginalized backgrounds, but being inclusive goes beyond accessibility. We must also make sure that our staff is respected and understood. Fostering a more open, comfortable environment within the newsroom will build a solid foundation so that our department can do what it’s ultimately meant to: initiate progress.

Newsrooms require constant collaboration. Establishing clear and consistent communication between columnists and editors can help ease any discomfort opinion members may feel in expressing their thoughts and column ideas. Providing opportunities for all members to voice their opinions, such as individual check-ins and small group meetings, will ensure our staff never feel overlooked. 

Journalism has always been a forum for public criticism and discourse. Columns and editorials provide structured methods for presenting arguments and ideas. But to express the array of thoughts and opinions on campus, we must incorporate more nuanced exchanges. 

Simple and polarized opinions often reveal an incomplete understanding of an issue. Centering our discussions solely on the extreme sides of an argument does not serve our readers, as people usually fall somewhere in between. This, however, does not mean we should dilute our arguments for the sake of a middle ground. 

Beliefs are often fragmentary and contradictory, but we can create a more comprehensive overview of issues by accepting this fact. Pushing our writers to find what makes their ideas unique is necessary to produce work that offers new and valuable insights into a matter.

Our work is only meaningful if it offers challenging and fresh perspectives. I believe greater creativity in our coverage and storytelling is essential to maintaining community engagement. Encouraging columnists to pitch ideas we cover less frequently or approaching a common argument with a refined view can spark curiosity and stimulate meaningful conversation.

Structural opinion columns will remain the basis of our work, but allowing our writers to discuss personal topics with more creative flexibility will promote diversity of thought and build a deeper connection with our readers. Our writers all have different experiences and ideas — giving them the freedom to explore with fewer creative restrictions will keep our columns relevant and interesting.

The Daily Texan’s first obligation may be to the truth, but our second is to the people we represent. As editor-in-chief, I will ensure that our coverage welcomes diverse views and takes a nuanced, creative approach so that our platform makes the greatest possible contribution to our University.

Henningsen is an English and advertising junior from Austin.

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About the Contributors
McKenzie Henningsen, Associate Opinion Editor & Associate Copy Desk Chief
McKenzie Henningsen is a junior English and advertising double major from Austin, Texas. She currently serves as Associate Opinion editor and Associate Copy Desk Chief.
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.