Bright: What I’ve learned from running the Opinion desk


Zach Bright, Opinion Editor

Before The Daily, my prior experience with student newspapers (like nearly every Medill student) consisted of my high school paper. So when I first applied to run the Opinion desk, I thought the job would not be nearly as time-consuming and draining as it proved to be.

I obviously knew it would be a substantial commitment, but found myself feeling too unprepared and scattered to lead the desk. When I came back from Winter Break, it was the thing that worried me first. Now just days away from going home, I still dedicate so much energy thinking about it. While it did prove to be a serious undertaking, it taught me a number of things.

In regard to my writing, I’m much better at doing so on a deadline. I mull over word choice, sentence structure and everything in between to think about the meaning that they will impart on readers. Logistically, I figured out how to ensure there was content for each day the Opinion page appears in the paper. I realized how to operate a workflow and communicate to the staffers for the section. And as editor, I learned how to handle sensitive situations from readers and writers alike.

Above all, I understood that behind these words — and those of the columns we run — are people. We’re students, just like most of you. None of us agree with everything that has been published to this page. We write for, but do not define, The Daily. Conversely, the publication does not define us.

If you disagree with something that runs in the Opinion desk, that means that the desk is living up to its name. It’s reflecting opinions, both popular and unpopular, but opinions nonetheless. If you have one, I urge you to reach out and write for us, or just let us know what you think. Some of our best pieces have come from people who have come to the desk because of what they read in the paper.

I’m fortunate enough to have had this opportunity to write how I want and when I want, a luxury other desk editors don’t possess. Going forward, I’m sure to follow the Opinion desk wherever it goes and read the work the people behind it put out. Today, I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had as the editor.

Zach Bright is a Medill sophomore. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.