Community dialogue helps brings about change

Evergreen opinion section works to start conversations about important issues

Dan Doucet, Evergreen opinion editor

Working in the newsroom this semester, I’ve seen many stories in our community develop and the ways those stories develop our community. Student protests, budget woes, public policy, administrative scandal, local tragedy — there are facts to be reported about all of these topics. But there is another element: action, which the public must take to solve a particular problem.

There are at least two sides, multiple solutions and a dozen perspectives to every issue. Sharing ideas with fellow community members ties us together. This creates understanding among neighbors who may be from vastly different backgrounds.

Hearing a perspective different from your own could yield a variety of results, one of which is learning to think in a way that you hadn’t before. It could also be a trigger, driving you to angrily troll the people with whom you disagree by spamming personal attacks or memes that disparage serious issues.

The inception of dialogue creates a positive result for community members because it lets business owners, government officials and university administrators know what the people want them to know, and what they need to know when making decisions that will affect those people. Dialogue in a public forum takes the opinions people have and gets them out there for the rest of the community to hear.

Over the beginning of the semester, we have witnessed and been a part of events that have rocked our community — events such as the multiple student protests and demonstrations in response to a student leader attending a white supremacist rally. This sparked debate among the community, which led to action and may eventually lead to change.

I have greatly enjoyed looking over reader comments on Evergreen social media posts. It’s interesting to see what draws the most attention and gets people talking — these are the issues about which readers care and want their perspective to be heard. When readers comment on Evergreen posts, they are stating their opinions. When other readers reply, a conversation is born.

This is the purpose of the opinion section in a newspaper — to create a space for community members to talk about important and controversial issues and propose solutions.

Opinion columns have been a standard component of newspapers almost since the creation of the first modern publications. Simply put, they are commentary, from either staff writers or guests, on topics of interest to our readership. More specifically, they are pieces meant to stir conversation in the public forum and to get our readership talking about issues that matter.

Any of our readers can submit a letter to the editor or guest column to be considered for publication. The only requirements are that the piece be of general interest to the WSU or Palouse community, and that it proposes solutions or draws attention to issues rather than personally attack individuals.

Of course, the editorial staff at The Daily Evergreen reserves the right to choose what is and is not published. We look to advance a diverse collection of voices over a wide range of topics worth reading. As an organization that seeks to be a voice for both students and community members, transparency and ease of access are top priorities.

Don’t complain that the opinions being published do not reflect your own if you don’t bother to reach out and bring your opinion to the table.