Opinions section promotes open discourse
If you haven’t heard yet, UCF’s prestigious student-run newspaper, the Central Florida Future, will be shutting down. The UCF paper that started in 1968 and has run for the 48 years since will put out its final issue Aug. 4th.
The paper has been a reliable source of school news, a priceless resource for young student journalists to hone their craft in the hopes of working for a newspaper upon graduation and, more broadly, an integral component of the Nicholson School of Communication, which houses the university's journalism program. It will be an odd and frankly colder landscape once the CFF is no longer around.
But I’ll leave the bigger eulogies for people more eloquent than me. While I’ve got the mic, I’d like to talk about a section of the paper that occasionally doesn’t always get touched on: the opinions section. It doesn’t get the lion’s share of attention from Nicholson students, but I’d argue that the opinions section serves a vital role for the newspaper and as a vehicle of discourse for the UCF student body.
I hope you’re aware of this already — and if you aren't yet, come on man, go read a newspaper — we have some very good writers here at NSC. They’re creative, colorful types that have ideas and viewpoints that are just as interesting as the stories they report on. Being a reporter and a journalist fulfills an important role in society; namely, providing fair and unbiased information that educates the public. Anyone can tell you the most crucial part of doing this job is — beside knowing how to spell — to not inject your own thoughts or personality into what you report on: The objectivity is king. What the opinion section provides, in contrast, is an opportunity for writers and students to provide their own unique and valuable insights into events related to UCF or society at large.
It’s pretty great. The natural side effect of having a profession where you’re deeply immersed in current events and activities is that you know and have thoughts on said events and activities. Be it politics, the UCF SGA controversies this past year, race relations, topical debate issues such as gun control or abortion, and so much more, the opinions section has been a tried-and-true outlet for UCF students to discuss what’s on their minds.
And I think it’s an undervalued outlet for reporters. So much of our writing is meant to be completely objective, unbiased, lacking in personal perspective or insight — and rightfully so. But the occasional opportunity to mix things up and write about what you want, however you want to, is often deeply rewarding. I look forward to writing opinion pieces because it’s only so often you get to have complete control and unrestrained fun in journalism. Reading my fellow reporters opinions every week has been a joy, and I’m going to miss it.
So if it’s really the end for the Central Florida Future, I think it’s important to recognize the value the opinions section has given to the paper. It’s not always appreciated and recognized as much as it should, but hey, better late than never.
Harry Sayer is a Contributing Columnist for the Central Florida Future.