Ready for takeoff: Opinion Fall 2015

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

As the fall semester launches into motion, so too do the people behind Daily Trojan Opinion pages to bring you the most advanced editorial section yet. This fall, Daily Trojan Opinion has rolled out an ambitious new vehicle in pursuit of of our old mission, and it is my pleasure to introduce a newly polished Opinion section which hopes to be both more thought-provoking and relatable than ever before.

For this semester, the Opinion section is even more geared towards printing the issues that students really care about. By focusing more heavily on relevant campus issues — whether it be controversial stories in which USC may take part in, inter-campus controversy between on-campus organizations and administration or USG initiatives that affect student life — Daily Trojan Opinion will begin and continue crucial conversations on campus. When Opinion covers national or international news, we intend to do so with the Trojan in mind — for example, Opinion writers this semester have explored the effect of an increase in visibility for the transgender community on USC’s LGBT students and the implications of the Iran deal for Iranian-Americans, especially those at USC. A greater emphasis on on-campus issues aims to improve the topicality of issues discussed and increase our section’s engagement within the USC community. We remain committed to streamlining content for our loyal on-campus readers and to cater to the USC audience whom we serve.

In a manner more personal and pertinent than ever before, the Daily Trojan Opinion section will feature a diverse group of talented writers, including four weekly and two bi-weekly columnists, who will share their thoughts and experiences with the USC community. In “Wait an LA Minute,” longstanding writer Jordyn Holman will explore issues that millennials face — be it choosing a college major or the inevitable feeling of running out of time on campus. “Campus Talk,” written by returning columnist Athanasius Georgy, will closely examine initiatives posed by the USC Undergraduate Student Government and controversies among different organizations on campus. Writer Kristen Woodruff will begin critical conversations with readers about issues in education, deputy features editor Sarah Dhanaphatana will examine local Los Angeles politics which affects our day-to-day lives here at USC in “Dhanapolitics,” and features editor Mollie Berg will share her experiences as an intern in “All in A Day’s Work.” These columns, formatted to allow readers to see columnists live through the modernization of college and the evolution of student life, ask the readers to be an intimate part of columnists’ journey this semester.

And yet, while introducing new directions for the newspaper to adapt to an evolving student body, Daily Trojan Opinion will continue the tradition of bringing to light contentious issues for which there appears to be no right answer. The return of the column “Point/Counterpoint,” run this semester by lifestyle editor Danni Wang and myself, plans to challenge readers’ preconceived notions and closely engage them to grapple with difficult questions which may have significant impact on student life.

The role of multimedia in these columns, as well as with more general Opinion content, will students to interact with stories and opinions in even more dimensions. With interactive timelines, tweets and multimedia maps, the different vehicles to deliver messages to readers will allow more close and thoughtful interactions as well as bring the Opinion section up-to-date as a truly modern publication.

This fall also kicks off the creation of an editorial board, which will present stances that the newspaper as a whole takes on crucial issues in the community. A tradition present at large professional newspapers like the Los Angeles Times  and the New York Times, the editorial board will fulfill our obligation, as an independent newspaper, to keep the University administration accountable and to keep readers informed about vital issues that affect student life. Composed of six editors and three longstanding Opinion writers, the editorial board will write weekly articles expressing majority-vote viewpoints on issues crucial for the USC community to examine.

As Opinion ushers in this new, more professional status as the editorial voice on campus, we also intend to keep readers engaged with lighthearted content. The institution of a new weekly comic focused on issues in college life — be it greek life, choosing a major or navigating social situations — promises to keep it real for students.

At the Daily Trojan newsroom, we’ve launched a status check, tested our gears and predicted our trajectory. Opinion is ready for takeoff — will you be on board?

Sonali Seth is a sophomore majoring in political science and policy, planning, development. She is also the editorial director of the Daily Trojan.