News media has been called the fourth branch of government. National newspapers like The New York Times cover national issues, serving as checks on the government at the state and federal levels. As a locally-focused newspaper, The Michigan Daily serves as a check on the University’s administration and the local government. And, as a paper run entirely by students, it focuses on issues that impact its primary readership: the University community. This editorial page will continue to serve its readers by providing a varied, informed discussion of relevant issues that impact the lives of students.
The Daily has a rich history. In the 1960s, an investigative reporter at the Daily won acclaim for his work covering the University administration. In 1955, when Jonas Salk created the first successful vaccine for polio, the Daily broke the news. In recent years, editorials have called for an office of veteran’s affairs and handicapped seating in Michigan Stadium — and the University has heard. All of these events have developed an editorial page focused on one thing: serving the students.
The Daily boasts 120 years of editorial freedom in proud letters on the front page in each and every edition. This is something that the staff of the Daily values at the utmost level. Editorial freedom means that the Daily is an autonomous entity. It is not run by the University. The content within it is decided upon, written and edited entirely by students. The Daily’s duty is to inform students of the issues that affect them.
It is my responsibility as editorial page editor to ensure that this page continues to fulfill a dual purpose. First, it will provide the student body with informed opinions on issues that students should care about. Second, it will facilitate debate with input from all sides.
The editorials that will hereafter fill this space will present students with opinions based on fact and the Daily’s values. Editorials are unsigned because they aren’t the opinion of a single individual. These editorials — considered, debated and formulated by the Daily’s editorial board — stand for the ideals that the Daily has developed over the course of 120 years. Editorials have unapologetically supported and will continue to support social progressivism, environmental responsibility, community involvement and advocacy for students’ rights.
But this page is also a forum for discussion. As college students, we should value few things more than debate. For this part of the paper to function properly, the Daily needs its readers to speak up. Viewpoints offer the chance for students and groups to offer their opinions. Letters to the editor facilitate discussion between students. These pieces come directly from students and faculty, and the fresh ideas they bring keep our page as diverse and informed as the University’s population. I encourage you to write if you have something to say. I promise I will consider your contributions with the gravity they deserve.
As editorial page editor, I will make certain that the widest possible variety of opinions is represented on this page. This page will not fail its historical significance. It will not compromise its principles. And it will continue to speak to the unique concerns of its readers.
Rachel Van Gilder
Editorial Page Editor