Opinion: We Are Not Trying to Convert You

Brett Daniel

The George-Anne is not a left-wing college newspaper.

In fact, I would argue until I’m as blue as the Democratic Party’s logo that The George-Anne’s staff strives ad nauseam in every budget meeting to fairly and accurately cover Georgia Southern and Statesboro.

To suggest that our coverage is politically biased, influenced by far-left ideology, or seeking to politically convert this community is intellectually dishonest, baseless, and conspiratorial. I challenge anyone to point to an example of our news coverage in which such blatant political partiality is present.

I am not talking, of course, about opinion or editorial articles, since op-eds and editorials, by their very nature, are biased and persuasive, nor am I referring to feature articles, since the purpose of a feature is to portray someone or something in depth and capture the subjective emotionalism of humanity.

Important to understand is that op-eds, editorials, and features are not categorized as news stories; they are categorized, in some form or fashion, as columns and profiles, and we as journalists are allowed, like all citizens, to voice our personal thoughts and political viewpoints through these mediums. Or shall we as journalists forfeit our First Amendment right to free speech simply because we’re journalists?

As The George-Anne’s managing editor of copy editing, I copy edit this publication on a daily basis, and I can assure the Georgia Southern community that the very few biased tidbits that somehow work their way into our reporters’ news stories are weeded out. Other editors employed here take the same approach. It is not our intention to editorialize the news. It is not our intention to influence the community of Georgia Southern through our news coverage. It is not our intention to politically convert others. Our only intention is to equip the community with the knowledge and facts they need to make informed decisions.

It seems that a distinction needs to be made between covering a news event and supporting a news event. If The George-Anne covers a protest on campus, this does not mean The George-Anne is supporting a particular viewpoint. If The George-Anne covers a conservative speaker, much like I did in this 2017 news article, this does not mean The George-Anne is supporting conservative ideology. Rather, these are events that we deem newsworthy to the community. We want the community to be informed about each of these events so the they can make their own decisions and determine how they feel about each issue.

Furthermore, The George-Anne’s staff is made up of college students. We have classes, extracurricular activities, work schedules, and other commitments just like any other student, yet we spend hours upon hours in the newsroom ensuring this community is adequately informed. Yes, we are Georgia Southern University students, ergo, we cover what happens on Georgia Southern’s campus first.

So, if Stacey Abrams comes to speak on Georgia Southern’s campus, we’re covering it. If Brian Kemp comes to speak on Georgia Southern’s campus, we’re covering it. If hateful, radical extremists assemble on Georgia Southern’s campus, we’re covering it. If aliens from outer space land on Georgia Southern’s campus, we’re covering it.

In conclusion, if anyone, anyone, in the Georgia Southern or Statesboro community wishes to voice their opinion about The George-Anne and its coverage, they may write and send an opinion piece to gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu, and the article will be reviewed for publication. Topics and language are not limited to certain criteria. The piece may focus on anything about which a person feels strongly.

Thank you, Georgia Southern and Statesboro, for continuing to support and read The George-Anne. Our news coverage’s sole purpose, as I have stated more than once, is to merely inform, never to influence or mislead. We are led by students, and we are for students, and we welcome and encourage diversity of thought and opinion in the student body. Never forget that.

Brett Daniel, Managing Editor of Copy Editing, Engagement, and Analytics, bd03929@georgiasouthern.edu