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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

What I learned in a year at the Daily

The Daily’s 44th anniversary is a call to reflect on its significance.

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Archival issues of the Daily are pictured.

I’m not a very chatty person, but it’s here at the Daily I’ve found my voice — 500 to 800 words at a time. It’s been just over a year since my first article as a staff writer and as a senior, I can’t help but be sappy.

Over my time at Tufts, I’ve had the opportunity to write and publish every type of article this section puts out: columns, viewpoints, op-eds and letters to the editor. It’s been eye-opening to experiment with both form and function. From pointed critiques of individual words and accounts of my family’s history to references of girl dinners and quismois,” my time with the Daily has challenged me to think about how to effectively advocate for the things that I care about while keeping readers in mind. In essence, how do I articulate an argument that is both compelling to readers and authentic to myself? But above all, it’s made clear the importance of debate centered on fact.

There’s a common refrain among lawyers that if you can’t beat your opponents with the facts or with the law, all you’ve got left is to beat the table. The Daily and other media outlets generally steer clear of this fallacy, but it’s a saying for a reason. With the widespread use of social media as a news source over traditional media, it seems that facts are under attack. Scour the comments section of any politician’s social media posts, and you’re bound to see a smorgasbord of the day’s most popular baseless insults or outright lies. The press, even at the university level, must continue to be a bulwark against this kind of partisan punditry and petty pretense. Here at the Daily, we’re proud to say that we don’t traffic in this kind of fake news.

It’s this lesson that’ll follow me far beyond the Daily office and even beyond my time on the Hill. As college students, and soon-to-be college graduates for some, we have a duty to stick to the facts. If we — the Daily, Tufts and yes, you and I — cannot be bastions of the truth, who will?

That, to me, is the beauty of this section. Opinion writing invites us to slow down. I’ll always be amazed by fellow staff who can crank out articles in a matter of hours. I’ve yet to write an article that didn’t take multiple days. For me, writing has always been an iterative process and opinion writing is no exception. It’s a bold thing to share an opinion in a public forum like the Daily and to put your name behind it to boot. To those in our section, even those I disagree with, you’ve earned my respect.

When we’re forced to sit and interrogate our arguments and our choice of words, we engage in the art of critical thinking — to poke and prod our argumentation until we can flush out its imperfections and arrive at a genuine conclusion. It’s an arduous process but you can’t rush to judgment in the press without running the risk of slander or defamation. It’s in this process that we can tease out the nuances of every argument. Few issues are without nuance, and we shouldn’t shy away from this complexity. Amid yet another pivotal election cycle here in the U.S. and a tense moment across the globe, it couldn’t be more important. When we rush to defend ourselves with cherry-picked, ideological tirades, we show just how fragile we really are. Facts, as it turns out, really don’t care about your feelings.

With opinion writers, you can sometimes catch a whiff of the author’s sense of self-absorption or self-importance, and I’m no exception. No matter what we might claim, we aren’t all-knowing sages. If we did know how to solve every problem, there’d be nothing left for us to opine about. We’d be out of a job, or just a hobby in this case.

Writing for the Daily over the past year has been far more meaningful than I ever could’ve imagined. The Daily’s 44th anniversary is a celebration of how far we’ve come as an organization and a window into who we’ll become in the future. Here’s to many more years as a light on the Hill.