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Saturday, Sep 25, 2021

Wanted: opinionated student body

As Opinion Editor of the Cluster, you would probably be surprised to know that I have a strong opinion against opinion column writing.
I’ve never been able to wrap my head completely around the concept, at least not in the way that the Cluster presents opinions.
In a larger run newspaper, an Opinion section makes sense. The Opinion Editor would write a column, alongside many of the other members of the editorial staff.
That way the reader of the newspaper will be able to get a good grasp of the type of viewpoints that the staff writers maintain in their own writing.
In the Cluster, we don’t really have that luxury. If you have been following the Opinions section last semester, you would have noticed that I wrote the majority of the articles, begrudgingly so.
We have a small editorial staff, but much of the time each staff member has at least two, maybe three stories they have to write in addition to the rest of their lives and layout.
I rely on the student body to write opinions pieces. I’m not always very lucky.
Near the end of last semester, I received a flood of “Letters to the Editor” and possible opinions pieces.
That was a nice gesture and I was able to fill my section with ease for this issue, but where were all of these opinions during the semester?
Because I did not receive many submissions regularly, I wrote a few fluff pieces. These pieces inevitably ignited a fire in the bellies of my readers. A few arguments were started and people questioned the validity of the news the Cluster was providing.
The arguments were good, in a way, because they showed that some students, as well as a few faculty and staff members, cared about something. However, questioning the validity of the Cluster was unfair when the Cluster relies on submissions of Mercer students to run effectively.
Personally, the Opinions section in the Cluster is lacking because Mercer is filled with very apathetic people who may have opinions, but don’t feel the need to share them. Ever.
Mercer, as a whole, doesn’t really feel too strongly about any issue, including the way we represent our sports teams.
I’m okay with lumping myself into the apathetic category because I struggle to come up with legitimate Opinions pieces from week to week.
There are those occasional students who we go to class with, attend sporting events with, and see complain on Facebook who feel very strongly about certain issues. My response? Write an opinions piece about it.
However, as soon as the Cluster enters the conversation, people start backing up and coming up with excuses not to write an opinion piece. Here are a few: “I don’t have time.” “I’ve never written for the paper before, I don’t know how to write an article.”
Writing Opinions pieces do not take experience in Journalism. I was a math major when I started writing for the Cluster.
I still don’t have any classroom journalism experience. I have learned throughout the process. So my message to you, reader, is this: If you have an opinion on anything -- albeit, school appropriate -- submit it to
The worst that can happen is that the editorial staff doesn’t run it, but at least your opinion has been read by someone. Take a stand and share it!


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