Diverse viewpoints needed for opinion page

Mai Hoang

People have complained to me that the Herald is too liberal. Other times, people complain that the paper is too conservative.

But really, the Herald staff members usually disagree on any given issue. There are Democrats, Republicans and an Independent or two. We have people who are pro-life, pro-choice and everything in between.

Likewise, the 20,000 students, faculty and staff on the Hill will have a variety of opinions and viewpoints.

As opinion editor, I am responsible to offer a variety of viewpoints through editorials, commentaries and letters to the editor.

Many times, however, the opinion page has been limited to the opinions of those who take the time to write a letter or commentary. There are groups of people whose opinions have never graced the Herald’s opinion page.

So here is my call to those people to take a scrap of notebook paper and your gel pen and write a letter to the editor or a commentary.

Maybe some of you out there need a little encouragement. Some common reasons why it’s essential for all of you to write a commentary:

• Because many people know I work for the Herald, people have complained to me all day long. Why complain to me, when you can write a commentary and complain to everyone on the Herald staff and the 10,000 people who read our paper each Tuesday and Thursday?

• The letters to the editor and commentaries are one of the most read items on wkuherald.com. It usually is one of the top five items, if not number one. Maybe if someone Googled your name, your commentary (and not something more embarrassing or boring) will show up.

• If you don’t take the time to write a letter or commentary, one of the Herald staff members will have to do it. But since most of us don’t even leave the office, our opinions are probably limited to what goes on in the walls of the Garrett Center.

• For those who are faculty, staff and administrators, I know that you guys have strong opinions about several issues. I want to invite you to state them in a commentary. You are quoted in our news stories to provide a variety of perspectives. Likewise, writing a commentary, will provide a different viewpoint from that of a student, whether its about a lack of parking, the state budget or your love of Lady Topper basketball. I realize that you all have busy schedules, but realize that you’re getting your opinion directly to the people you’re serving.

• And if all fails, you’ll have to hear the opinion of a 5-foot-3, democratic, cereal-loving and energetic Louisvillian. While I have opinions of my own, everyone will probably be sick of seeing my fresh Asian-American face on a commentary mug shot.

But I won’t try to hide behind newsprint all the time. Although most of the editors will be busy editing stories inside, I’ll be going out of the office seeking your opinions. If I see you at a forum speaking your mind, I might encourage you to write it down.

If you’re interested in writing a commentary or letters, type one out and send it in by e-mailing it to me at [email protected] or drop them at the Herald office at 122 Garrett. Include your name, hometown and a phone number where you can be reached. Letters and commentary may be edited for clarity and length.

We can both work together to make the opinion page a forum for more than five percent of the people at Western.

Mai Hoang is a senior print journalism and religious studies major from Louisville.

This commentary does not reflect the views of the Herald, Western or its administration.