It’s easy to conceptualize the opinion section as just a place for others’ opinions, a place where students express points of view that you would survive just fine without reading. I mean, why not just read the news section and be done with the paper?
The answer is twofold. First, a news item will give you the facts of a story and maybe a few quotes from key individuals. But an opinion can reach beyond those facts and tell you why it matters. Sure, you can read about how the University of Wisconsin is taking Adidas to court, but why is that significant? Why might it be either a good or bad thing? The opinion section explores where events fit in the larger framework of, for example, the concurrent political atmosphere.
Put plainly, the opinion section explores why the things that happen all around us matter.
Second, reading the opinion section will help you develop one of the most important skills you will acquire as an undergrad – critical thinking. By reading someone else’s argument, you are able to follow someone else’s train of thought, someone else’s way of thinking.
Too often we become limited by our own cognitive modus operate and forget how to think in new ways. By reading how others reason, you expand your own critical thinking skills by assimilating someone else’s. Perhaps you will question an assumption your beliefs rest on, or perhaps you will learn to play devil’s advocate in order to strengthen your own position. Either way, you will hone your critical thinking skills by reading others’ opinions.
So welcome to the opinion section! With the presidential election and Wisconsin being considered a swing state, this semester will prove to be interesting, to say the least. We encourage all of you to write for us, and if you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Here’s to another great semester.