Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, November 18, 2017

Letter from the opinion editor: We’re launching Voices

Voices will be a platform for underrepresented communities to share opinions on race, gender, socioeconomics and culture

Letter from the opinion editor: We’re launching Voices

This semester, I've led a Diversity and Inclusion Committee at The Eagle. The purpose of the group was to reflect on and improve both our coverage of underrepresented communities on campus and diversity within our staff.

The committee acknowledged a demonstrable lack of trust between The Eagle and campus community as well as a lack of diverse representation in our publication’s content. We’ve recognized a need, as a student newspaper, to address these issues. We agreed that some communities at AU -- specifically communities of color -- don’t fully trust The Eagle. We care deeply about gaining their trust.

Today, I am happy to announce the launch of Voices, a division of the opinion section. Voices will be a space for members of diverse and underrepresented communities to highlight issues as well as positive advancements in their respective communities. Modeled after HuffPost’s Voices section, anyone -- students, professors, faculty, staff or other members of the AU community -- is eligible to contribute to this section. The idea is that those who may not want to tell their story to a reporter can tell the story themselves in the Voices section.

However, the section will not necessarily serve as a space for those oppressed and underrepresented due to what they believe, but rather those oppressed and underrepresented because of who they are. We recognize a clear difference between structural oppression based on the invariable aspects of identity like race, gender and oppression as opposed to the controversiality of one’s opinion. As always, we welcome those with alternative opinions to submit to the op-ed section. In all cases, the opinion editor and the editor-in-chief retain the right to edit submissions for libel, length or style, but not for content. The decision to publish a piece ultimately falls to the editor-in-chief.

With this addition, we hope to provide a space for writers to authentically portray issues facing their communities. Thus, writers should identify with the identities they are writing about. Finally, we aim to provide a platform for underrepresented voices by active outreach to and amplification of our campus community, building trust between The Eagle and the campus community. 

In a previous piece from our Editor-in-Chief Courtney Rozen, we reaffirmed our commitment to providing objective coverage of campus. She wrote that “we are part of the AU community, yet we must separate ourselves to cover it fairly.” In May, we learned that we must cover underrepresented communities -- specifically communities of color -- at all times, not just when tragedy strikes as it did on May 1, 2017. Holistic coverage of our campus community requires us to both report on these communities and open up the publication directly to them.

It is our hope that the Voices section will be one of many steps through which our internal values of community, accessibility and inclusion, as American University students and student journalists, are reflected in our publication. 

To submit a piece to Voices, please email me at nmack@theeagleonline.com. Your email should include your name, graduation year, major, headshot and piece. Pieces should be between 500-800 words.

I welcome your feedback by email. Thank you in advance for any contributions. 

In Strength,
Nickolaus Mack
Managing Editor for Opinion

nmack@theeagleonline.com


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