Journalism rests on a pillar of truth.
Good journalists seek the truth, transpose it into stories and present it to the public, allowing those truths to play out in the marketplace of ideas.
In the news, variety and sports sections of the Mirror, the truth is absolute. But in the forum section, a diverse range of truth is represented.
The forum section is a place for competing ideologies and houses of thought to interact in ways that bring about growth and new realizations. It is not a place for people to be threatened or disparaged because of what they believe.
At the Mirror, we have always accepted opinion pieces that members of the Augustana community send our way. But this year, the Mirror has made a pointed effort to extend its platform to more voices, hoping to include all the truths that are held on this campus.
That started with an op-ed from the Black Student Union in our first print edition and is seen this week with angle pieces from our Augie Democrats and Augie Republicans. It also means we include opinion pieces that showcase both liberal and conservative points of view.
Although the Mirror does not hold a political perspective, we are a place for opposing politics to hash out differences and find common ground. It’s great for our readers to have an emotional reaction to an opinion piece. It’s even better if they’re able to have a civil dialogue about the content of those pieces. But it is not productive, and it is not okay to attack the humanity of a writer just for what they hold to be their truth.
The Mirror will never publish hate speech, and we will never reach out to those who have hateful beliefs. But we will shed light on all perspectives, even those that may not be as popular. Because as much as some may strongly, strongly disagree with those viewpoints, they are valid.
While it is important for us to stand firmly behind our opinions, it’s also important to not allow ourselves to get so entrenched in our beliefs that we can’t listen to or acknowledge another way of thinking. When we tune out and shut down thoughts that don’t exactly align with our own, we limit ourselves. We don’t grow. We don’t learn. We don’t reach compromises.
The Mirror will continue to reach out to students across campus to provide a platform for all voices to be heard. We will continue to encourage productive debate and forum. But the Mirror will not tolerate vitriolic commentary that directly attacks Augustana students for speaking out. It doesn’t matter what the piece is about — liberal, conservative and anywhere in between.
Mirror Op-Ed Policy:
The Mirror looks for submissions that run from 400 to 700 words, although articles of different lengths can be submitted. The Mirror is committed to publishing a diversity of opinions and to do this, the Mirror may reach out to students, faculty and organizations to encourage them to submit Op-Eds about issues or stances that they are closely related to. The Mirror encourages authors to write in their own voice. Submissions should be sent to Anna Sorenson at firstname.lastname@example.org or augustanamirror.gmail.com.
The Mirror does not guarantee that Forum submissions will be published. If an opinion piece contains hate speech or is hateful in nature, the Mirror will not publish it. However, opinion pieces that are acceptable will be published, although the time of publication will be dependent on availability and space.
If an opinion article is accepted, the Forum editor will work with the author to make the piece acceptable to both the writer and the editors. If the piece has the start of a fascinating idea but is jumbled and not well-thought out, it will probably need rounds of revision. If this is the case, do not be discouraged. The goal of the editing process is to make the author’s thinking and writing as clear and orderly as possible. The writer will not get to choose the headline or the art that goes with the piece, though they can suggest a headline or art to the Forum editor.
The name and email address of the writer will be included in the print edition of the Mirror for the campus community to see, but the writer’s personal email will not be published online.
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