In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. He said “Rule number one of the opinion section: Don’t talk about the opinion section.”
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an editor. And every day for the past two semesters, I’ve come in to the Herald office, sat down and thought, “This is my desk. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It really ties the office together.”
When I got here, I remember reflecting on the then-state of the opinion section and saying to myself, “What is this, a section for ants? We’re gonna need a bigger section.” I had a dream of a page where opinions were judged not by the number of citations, but by the substance of the content. And if anyone wanted to stand in my way, they’d get a healthy dose of double birds.
I’ve seen writers make arguments you can’t refuse. I’ve seen writers go ahead and make my page. But I’ve also had columnists that made me bemoan, “Citations, citations, my kingdom for citations!” I’ve had to remind others that the rules are all we’ve got. From going through both the best of pieces and worst of pieces, I’ve learned an important lesson: One does not simply write a Begunian opinion column.
In my time, several readers have capitalized on our “hey, you just read my column and this is crazy, but my email’s in the byline so email me maybe” policy. Other trolls have commented comments within comments within comments, but those rarely went deep enough.
The section has undergone necessary growth — some weeks our views have even reached more than 9,000. I don’t always reflect on my time here, but when I do, I see we’ve got 99 problems, but having a solid page ain’t one.
However, with this great power came great responsibility. And what I’ve learned from that responsibility is this: To thine own opinions be true. I did my best not to ask what the opinion section could do for me, but rather what I could do for it. As long as you don’t stop believin’, the opinion section will never give you up or let you down.
So it bros in the place where there’s no time to funk around. #YOLO
Reginald Young (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior majoring in goat-raising and Photoshop.