University Paper Forgets the Meaning of an Op-Ed


When did it become so bad for people to have an opinion? It’s one of the greatest rights that we have as Americans. We don’t have to agree with everyone. We most certainly don’t have to agree with everything that our government says and does.

We voice our opinions in different ways – peaceful protests, social media, and the power of the op-ed.

In the past few years, we’ve seen that it’s harder and harder for us to share our opinions with others. Protests are shut down, social media bans people with differing thoughts, and the op-ed is reserved for those who have a certain opinion.

Whatever happened to the concept of “agree to disagree?”

Northwestern University is responsible for churning out a student paper identified as The Daily Northwestern. Editor Lily Nevo has decided that there are some basic guidelines for what articles they will and will not publish. We would expect some of them, including word count and unconfirmed facts. Even dismissing content that would generate a profit is acceptable.

An op-ed, however, is a chance to get a different viewpoint. It’s designed to create some friendly debate.

Essentially, if you aren’t marginalized, Nevo isn’t interested in publishing your piece. She explains, “I am also wary of publishing pieces from those who hold positions of institutional power or those who already have platforms to disseminate a message. The opinion section is a powerful platform; I would like to ensure it is used to amplify the voices of those who are not necessarily represented in other spaces, rather than give more space to those who already have it.”

This is a dangerous stance to take as it means that those who have a platform cannot use the newspaper’s platform as well. However, it’s unlikely that she says “no” to everyone who has a platform. Anyone who is liberal enough is likely given a clear path to the op-ed section.

The editor goes on to say that pieces aren’t published if they are offensive. Ahh, there’s that magical word – and who really determines whether something is offensive? After all, there are liberals who find almost everything that the conservative right does offensive. Apparently, Nevo and her team will evaluate everything on a case-by-case basis.

If the liberal media is coming for the op-ed next, what chance do we have of being able to speak our minds?