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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Stroke of Genius: The role of a columnist

<y week, it seems, I manage to enrage some member or group of the school community. I have been publicly confronted and bitterly argued with, but is this my duty as a columnist? As a contributor to the Carletonian, I write an article each week. I hardly ever know what I will be writing about until I sit down and just type something out. With this opportunity, however, I always seem to end up asking myself a single, but multi-tiered question: “What is my role as a writer?”

Sure, I write for a weekly college newspaper, nothing too amazing. People would probably laugh in my face if I were ever to call myself a journalist—so I don’t. Even with all that said, I still question what I should write about each and every single week. Is it best to write negative or harsh criticisms of Carleton? Or would it be better to write standard, bland articles that could never raise enough enthusiasm to lift even a single eyebrow?

Writing a column that is controversial gets people to read the article, even if they disagree with it. The trade off is that people get upset. Even this is good though. People begin to discuss and deliberate on the issues, and this leads to things possibly getting changed—one way or the other.

A controversial opinion gets blasted and draws criticism from opposing viewpoints, but it helps protect our freedoms of the press and speech. While radical thought may be intimidating and frightening to the status quo, it helps us continue our liberal traditions and democratic values.

Bland articles don’t get read, don’t cause any debate, but can be widely accepted. Most articles, from all newspapers and sources, fit into this category. They can be informative, but information alone doesn’t breed discourse or change. It can be nice to read unbiased journalism in order to formulate your own opinions. Ultimately, however, somebody needs to stand up for these opinions and provoke change.

Maybe this article is just a way for me to justify my work; this is probably true in many ways. It could also be a time when, right before I started writing, after asking myself, “what is my role as a write?” I decided against my usual response. Maybe, for once, I decided it was better to write something people agreed with. Let’s hope it never happens again.

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