As we embark on our 90th anniversary, we can reflect on how far the newspaper and school have come.
Since the beginning of time, journalists have been musing about the importance of newspapers and the free press. Though our country was founded on the ideals of open information and exploration, we still find ourselves constantly having to advocate for our importance. But despite journalism's naysayers who dismiss all criticism as "fake news," we are important. After all, Thomas Jefferson famously said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
All sections and aspects of newspapers are needed, including the opinion and editorial section. The idea of editorials was first created in 1841 when Horace Greeley developed the “Opinion Page” of the New York Tribune, according to the Center for News Literacy. In those days, newspapers were highly opinionated— political and cultural turmoil was at an all-time high. People wrote op-eds on the issues that moved them and anonymous letters often caused public uproar. Even though editorials may seem a little outdated in the age of social media, they have served a great purpose for college media, including us. We know that editorials matter because they inform students about universal and specialized topics. Discussing local, state and federal politics and analyzing pressing social issues has kept students grounded and encouraged them to come together and create solutions. When we muse on bigger topics such as the Amazon fires or presidential candidates, it helps us connect with the larger community on issues that are affecting us differently but similarly. And when we muse on topics directly related to our campus, our words can have a real impact.
A good editorial or opinion column is supposed to educate, enlighten and operate as a catalyst for thought. As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we can reflect on how far the newspaper and school have come. Editorials and articles throughout the years show a timeline of the school’s physical and moral growth. There were articles from students calling the administration to rename the Student Activities Center (now called the Shalala Student Center) to many musings on Bush and the war to pieces about foreign affairs. Students argued about parking and bad dining hall food, just like we do today. It dispels the myth that UM is just a superficial party school— by the looks of old editorials and articles, the students of UM have always been civically and politically engaged. We used to receive numerous letters to the editors every week, mainly from students responding to articles and editorials. It was student journalism in all its glory, and that it's the kind of healthy debate that everyone at The Miami Hurricane hopes to continue facilitating far into the future.
Student media is an important part of the government of any campus, and our influence must not be understated. We are not only the voice of students, but we represent the school’s overall culture. Not only do we aim to amplify student’s voices, especially those from underrepresented communities, but we aim to accurately depict student and faculty life through news, opinion, entertainment and sports. As journalism and the UM community journey into a new age, we know that student media will not only grow and continue to cause change—it will remain the heart of any college campus.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.