Op-ed: Opinions don’t have to be divisive


By Hannah Ebanks

The first article I wrote for the Beacon went through at least five drafts before it was published. It was an opinion piece about what it was like being a new international student at Emerson. One of the main reasons it went through so many drafts was because I approached it as a personal essay rather than an article. It’s a mistake I frequently see new opinion writers make and something with which I still struggle.

A Venn diagram comparing news and opinion articles would have facts in the center. An opinion article just adds the author’s perspective. We have started to include the phrase “op-ed” before a headline in order to eliminate any confusion and create a clear distinction between news and opinion.

We hold ourselves to high standards and want to be as transparent and ethical as possible, especially in a time where the press is referred to as “fake news.” Every opinion piece published goes through the same editing process as all the news articles, working their way from the deputy opinion editor to the editor-in-chief.  

The first article I wrote also showed me how important the opinion section can be. I noticed there wasn’t a lot of content in the Beacon about the challenges and loneliness of being an international student. So I decided to write about it. To this day, the article is still one of my favorites. It showed me the true power of the opinion section: writing about important issues and addressing the gaps in campus discourse.

During the spring of my freshman year, I became the assistant opinion editor. In one of the first meetings, I had an international student tell me how much they liked my pieces and how they could relate to my writing. During my late nights and stressful moments, I think about those comments to keep me going.

My goal for the opinion section this semester is for it to be reflective of the whole student body, especially voices of those who are underrepresented. I want students to have the opportunity to experience what I did when I was first published in the Beacon. The opinion section is filled with possibility and a place to discuss campus issues. So bring your passion and ideas and don’t be discouraged by the editing process一 we are trying to make your piece and voice stronger.