It’s not uncommon to hear the complaints that Technician’s opinion section has a bias for “left-leaning and progressive” arguments and do not express the viewpoints and opinions of all NC State students, therefore alienating them. Specifically, these concerns deal with alienation of conservative views on issues such as abortion.
To all readers who feel this way, my response is simple: Join us. If you feel there is a viewpoint, political side or perspective that is not being expressed within the opinion section of Technician, then sign up to write with us. You don’t have to be an English major or an amazing writer to join; I’m a biological sciences major that almost failed his high school literature class. Anyone is welcome to come write and grow as a journalist and critical thinker.
Here’s the issue, though, with this type of call to action from the opinion team: Asking writers to speak from different perspectives than their own — in this case, more right-wing and conservative perspectives — is contradictory. As a writer at Technician, I have two requirements: articles need to be relevant to the NC State community, and I need to be passionate about the topic discussed. If I write from a perspective that I don’t agree with and am not passionate about, the result may be a weak, poorly written argument.
When I joined last fall, the team was small with very similar backgrounds. It wasn’t until spring semester that more weekly female writers joined. Since Technician is a student-run organization, only people that want to join will do so. So if only, for example, white males with more liberal views want to join, then our team will consist of that demographic.
Diversity, in this case, does not necessarily mean race or gender, but also refers to political beliefs, perspectives, ideas and experiences. I would like it if there were more people, and I remember a period near the end of the fall semester where the team was low in numbers. Although outreach and recruitment programs exist, people have to want to join.
The current team happens to be a mainly liberal, left-focused group of people. When one joins Technician they’re not forced to write from a liberal perspective only, contrary to popular belief. The same applies to this column: I am writing from my independent opinion, and in no way am I speaking on behalf of Technician or Student Media.
I will say though, to me, the lack of diversity is a problem. In our weekly meetings, we pitch our ideas and have an open conversation about them to try and develop topics more or throw out other perspectives and sources. A drawback of the lack of political diversity is that the group doesn't hear claims from the conservative or opposing side. Hence, there should be a demand for these people who are passionate and have different opinions — in this case, right-wingers — to act as a different viewpoint and voice on these topics.
Is that an excuse to not do the research on our own? No. With roughly 600-word articles, it can be hard to explore all sides, but that’s not an excuse either. This letter to the editor brings forward a recurring criticism present in various guest columns and Facebook comments which states that Technician writers, including myself, should do a better job acknowledging other sides to illustrate a well-rounded understanding of a topic and demonstrate a lack of bias.
Yet at the end of the day, opinion columns are exactly that: opinions. Although there’s always room for improvement for myself and my fellow writers on the current opinion team, the only way to have full articles dedicated to the voices of your opinions is for you to join and write. To expect me to write articles from viewpoints that don’t hold my opinions is rather contradictory — at least, that’s just my opinion.
If interested in writing for Technician, contact either Dan Gilliam, Editor-in-Chief, at <email@example.com> or Joseph Rivenbark, Opinion Editor, at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Our office is located on the third floor of the Witherspoon Student Center.