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Editor’s letter: why you should write for Comment

Welcome to Comment, the opinion section of your student newspaper! Here, you’ll find articles offering personal views on student issues and current affairs. If you have an opinion you want to share, on a topic you think students should care about, treat this as your soapbox and clamber on. But in place of a sales pitch, let me tell you a story. Get comfortable – it’s not like you have a club night to go to. 

Once upon a term, Boar Comment was conceived as the hub of lively debate on campus. On these very pages, the most contentious topics of the century have been discussed: the EU referendum, Scottish independence, whether Rootes deserves to be hailed as one of the best halls in the country. They’ve praised the university for its successes and criticised its shortcomings. They’ve provided a platform for Warwick students to speak out on issues close to them – they still do. 

But one day, Comment found it no longer had a monopoly on student opinion

But one day, Comment found it no longer had a monopoly on student opinion. Out of the darkness — that is, the dimly lit piazza — a competitor emerged: fresh-faced, menacing and fathered by Zuckerberg. If you’ve not yet encountered WarwickFessions, formerly WarwickLove, it won’t be long. 

What started as a relatively wholesome corner of Facebook, publishing anonymous crush confessions (“brunette by the water fountain, fifth floor library…”), became increasingly political. Over the summer, we’ve witnessed debates over rape culture, the morality of snitching on exam cheats, eco-fascism, how well Warwick has responded to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Comment has found itself a little forsaken. Where we once tore up provocative newspaper articles, perhaps using them as cat litter, we now angry react to heavily worded Facebook posts. A feeble replacement, in my view – incomparable in terms of catharsis.

So when you next find yourself irate, turn not to WarwickFessions

Yes, I’m bitter. But what I’m trying to say is, as social media encourages and rewards quick fire opinions, let us not forget the value of Comment journalism. Well-researched, thorough articles involve deliberation and organisation, leading to logical conclusions. They enable depth and nuance. It is easy to outline a viewpoint in a way that polarises responses – it is harder, and far more useful, to articulate why you hold that view, with supporting evidence, in a way that challenges your reader, rather than eliciting strong feelings one way or the other. This way, while we may not agree with you, we might at least understand your reasoning. This better equips us for responding, debating, educating each other. 

So when you next find yourself irate, turn not to WarwickFessions – the yellow-clad pages of Comment await. It’ll be mutually beneficial. I’ll get some articles to slap up on the shiny website, you’ll get an appetite for opinion writing (lasts a lifetime), and the chance to see your name in print (newspapers are dying, tick tock). Whilst, I know, the prospect of 300 Facebook likes is hard to resist, and The Boar can only dream of such levels of interaction, choose authorship over anonymity. Please. If nothing else, your CV will thank you.

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