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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

A profile of the Opinion section, via its seniors

I sat down to interview our seniors for a profile, but I ended up with a clearer view of the “opinionmunity” than ever.

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Justin Hong, Reya Kumar and Kevin Golub are pictured in front of Carmichael Hall.

At the end of this year, I decided to sit down with the Opinion section’s three departing seniors to profile each in a single article — condensed to save time, I thought. While I learned a lot about each senior, their time at Tufts and the Daily in our group interview, what happened in between our lines of questioning was ultimately much more valuable.

Peppered between serious and genuinely impactful answers were jokes, references, sidebars and quite a few silly facial expressions. As an interviewer who scheduled this right before his lunchtime, one might imagine that a drawn out meeting might be frustrating. But in the end, I don’t think that I could’ve painted this portrait of the Opinion section without it — I wish I had asked more questions.

Of course, it is important to understand each of the section’s seniors and their unique stories. Reya Kumar, who was executive opinion editor in fall 2022, has been in the section “forever.” She joined in spring 2021, her second semester of university, amid COVID-19 lockdowns and has remained involved in some way since then; she is now in her second semester as a deputy editor. Though her consistency is admirable, her story is far from conventional: She joked that you can still read the direct messages on Instagram she sent to the Daily’s Instagram account as a result of not being placed on an email list.

Kevin Golub, currently an opinion editor, was more of a “late bloomer,” as he quipped, beginning with writing op-eds during the spring semester of his junior year. He then joined the section as a staff writer upon returning to Tufts, contributing “a fair amount” of articles — a comment that prompted a good laugh from the rest of the room considering his accumulation of nearly 30 bylines in his one year as a staff writer.

Like Golub, Justin Hong, a current deputy editor, also joined the section relatively late, with his first semester as a staff writer being his junior spring. Similarly, his involvement began with submitting an op-ed about a bill that died in the Massachusetts State House. Following this, his work has focused on mostly Tufts and Massachusetts issues because in his words, “Joe Biden does not read The Tufts Daily.” In other words, he believes it is best to appeal to those in the Daily’s audience that have the power to make change. He relented, though, that California Gov. Gavin Newsom does read the Daily, reflecting a satirical letter to the editor Hong wrote for the Daily’s April Fools‘ edition.

Still, despite the differences of our seniors, their involvement and their goals as writers, each has reflected on how important the Opinion section has been to them, demonstrating the section’s ability to unify. Ironically, the section with some of the most contentious articles has created some of the closest bonds. All commented on the impact of COVID-19 on their Tufts experiences and expressed gratitude for the community that the section has made.

We have in the section a built-in sounding board,” said Kumar, referencing the frequent and often intense discussion on opinion articles in section meetings.

The Opinion section has provided a welcome environment for writers of, well, all opinions. Golub stated, “While I am a minority voice … I have found my time super rewarding and made a ton of friends despite most of them having different political views to mine. … The fact that we can go each day debating but also being friends and having civil discussions is a key reason why I stay in the Daily.”

Moreover, both Kumar and Hong remarked on how the section’s community has progressed throughout their time in the Daily. Hong elaborated that in his first semester in the Daily, meetings were usually over in 10 minutes, and there was not really a sense of community. However, he has really enjoyed this semester because it has been so different, stating it is the first time he felt he was showing up to meetings because he wanted to even if he had nothing to write.

Golub added that the Daily this year has allowed for a “whole other side of [his] social life,” highlighting the “singular gathering location” of Kumar’s house where virtually every section bonding has been hosted (and in which, of course, this interview took place).

It’s hard to outline months of jokes and references as they presented themselves on a Sunday afternoon in that “singular gathering location.” But in between the questions, and looking at the comments on vocabulary, serious and unserious requests for off the record statements and the frequent and possibly unapologetic profanity usage, this dialogue represents to me what opinion is. Beyond the questions and the stories and the incredible and unique lived experiences are three seniors whom this section will greatly miss.