Meta | Apr. 17 6:25 pm EST
so many opinions

How we receive opinions

Yael Wiesenfeld / Spec

This is the second of four posts in which Spec Opinion explains how we receive, edit, and choose outside submissions for publication. Here, we explain how op-eds come to us.

The opinion page, unlike the rest of the paper, relies on content from contributors not on Spectator’s staff. Though a group of columnists and an editorial board fill a portion of the page each day, we rely on writing from the community in the form of op-eds to fill the rest.

As an associate editor, it is my responsibility to find these op-eds each week. And, as you might imagine, it’s more difficult than assigning a staff writer for content. Though we’d like to have the reader base of the New York Times and the volume of unsolicited op-ed submissions such an audience would bring, the reality is that we rely on an op-ed recruitment process.

Here’s how it works:

We keep an eye on campus news and reach out to individuals and organizations associated with current events. Student groups involved with or implicitly interested in Columbia news stories are our primary contact points. We also look at calendars to anticipate events which might inspire strong opinions. We equally rely on the unsolicited op-eds sent to our Spec Opinion email.

While our active recruitment process is effective (we print a full page each day of the week), in an ideal world it would be unnecessary. It often strikes me that few students know how to submit an op-ed­—or even that it’s possible—and that is why we conduct outreach for content. In a campus as diverse, opinionated, and vocal as ours, we do not suffer from a lack of opinions, but rather a lack of information about how newspapers print op-eds.

We opinion editors aren’t infallible and, despite our best efforts, can’t reach out to each relevant person and group on campus about every current issue. But any relevant individual or group can reach out to us and submit an op-ed.

So, here’s a step in the direction towards increased visibility for Spec Opinion. Have an opinion you want to share? Then write a 650-word piece, check with our op-ed guidelines, and send it over to Want to be considered to write every now and then based on your interests and affiliations? Take a moment and share your info with us.

Help us make our editorial page the best reflection possible of the diversity of thought on our campus and in our community.




  1. Alan is hawt • April 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm • Reply

    Alan I love you!!

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    • Gingers • April 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm • Reply

      We gingers accept him into our midst, he is one of us.


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  2. Friend of Spec • April 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm • Reply

    Who is on the editorial board?

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    • Anon • April 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm • Reply

      Here we go again…

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      • John • April 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm •


        ANON take a long look at the PICTURE IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THIS ARTICLE. Some may call it a thumbnail.

        The man on the left in that picure stands under a sign that says come sit at a BIG HUGE MAC at NoCo.

        The woman in the middle has a sign that says COME TO SOCO.

        The 2 women on the right stand under a sign that says marriage equality.

        DO NOT LISTEN TO THE WOMAN IN THE MIDDLE. I have been to SOCO and BAD THINGS happen to GOOD PEOPLE there.

        ANON, you are a GOOD PERSON

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    • I • April 18, 2012 at 12:58 am • Reply

      Hannah D’Apice, Richard Falk-Wallace, Simon Gregory Jerome, Marcela Johnson, Leo Schwartz, Robin Simpson-McKay, and Virgilio Urbina Lazardi.

      Additionally, Sarah Darville (editor in chief), Maggie Alden (managing editor), and Lanbo Zhang and Andrea Garcia-Vargas (opinion editors) sit on the board.

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  3. CC '15er • April 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm • Reply

    I’m confused as to how Spectator edits op-eds, and perhaps a staff member can clear this up for me. I’m interested in submitting a piece, but I’m concerned about censorship and any changes that can be made after I sent it in. Naturally, a news article needs certain edits, but an opinion piece should remain largely untouched in my view. Is this how the process works? Any insight into the editing of op-eds at Spec would be much appreciated, thanks!

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    • Spectrum STAFF • April 18, 2012 at 12:04 am • Reply

      So lovely you asked. Please look out for another Spectrum post tomorrow by yours truly addressing the process! Your questions will be answered, fear not.

      Andrea Garcia-Vargas
      Editorial Page Editor

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  4. dqueezy • April 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm • Reply

    alan rox my sox

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    • John • April 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm • Reply


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    • The Cloaked Recruiter • April 18, 2012 at 1:59 am • Reply

      GINGERs rock my socks. RISE GINGERS RISE against the evil that is the spec. They will steal your children and train them to murder helpless dogs in the dead of night and then force them to feed on their corpse while forcing innocent Barnard girls to look at the carnage.

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      • The Enshadowed and Sanguine Banana Peel • April 18, 2012 at 2:02 am •

        Obviously, opinions rather than facts matter to this worthless piece of paper that sunburns like a ginger, but unlike gingers actually catches on flames! We at the specsucks community value facts, like an octapus has twelve heads or that Millie the Bear is gay, but Bert and Ernie are NOT!

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      • Gingers • April 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm •

        We gingers are currently shedding tears of happiness, due to the fact for once we have been noticed. We will rise, and stronger than ever before under the leadership of the Well Lit Mask to vanquish the fake dqueezy and all the evil they stand for

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