Letter from the opinions editor: A new paradigm for opinions

Opinion by Adrian Liu
May 25, 2021, 8:56 p.m.

In recent years, The Daily’s opinions section has had an uncertain identity. It has published op-eds from the community as well as articles by opinion columnists who wrote with varying degrees of regularity, and and it has often not sufficiently distinguished the different forms of content that appeared in the section. 

Starting March of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic swept Stanford and sent most of the student body home, the opinions section shifted its focus from publishing staff writers to being a forum for voices from the community. Volume 257, spanning the first half of 2020, saw over 250 opinion articles published, mostly from community submissions rather than staff writers.

Halfway through 2021, with a more regular and manageable clip of community submissions, our focus has shifted toward building an infrastructure for developing and highlighting opinion articles from staff writers. In the most recent volume, the section piloted a columnists program, overseen by two desk editors and with a limited roster of ten writers. The section is committed to becoming a more structured place for writers to learn and grow, first as contributing writers and eventually as columnists. 

At the same time, the opinions section remains committed to being the section of The Daily that acts as a forum: as a central gathering place for important voices from the community. Through publishing community submissions and letters to the editor, The Daily can play a role in amplifying urgent voices and movements. 

With these twin goals, nurturing a robust roster of staff writers and remaining a forum for community voices, we want to be clear about which category each article published in opinions falls into. The four types of content in opinions will be reflected in the title of each article. 

Articles from the editorial board will continue to be prefixed with “Editorial Board,” and letters to and from the editor will be labeled accordingly. But articles from staff writers, whether they be columnists or contributing writers, will be prefixed with “Opinion,” and articles submitted by Stanford community members will be prefixed with “From the Community,” reflecting the fact that The Daily is serving as a caretaker of this content, rather than as a producer. Community submissions are still held to the same editorial standards as staff writers are, and The Daily will not shirk responsibility for any material published in its pages, whether from staff writers or from the community. But this new naming makes clearer the goals of the opinions section going forward: to provide a welcoming and nurturing space for staff writers to develop their authorial voices and publish as Daily staff writers, and to provide a forum for discussion and exhortation on important matters, from the community and to the community. 

— Adrian Liu, Opinions Editor

We welcome submissions from the community, which should be sent to [email protected]. Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected]. The Daily recruits for columnists at the beginning of each quarter. Those interested in joining the Opinions section at other times should email [email protected]

Adrian Liu '20 was Editor of Opinions in Volumes 257 and 259.

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