Editorial: Opinion section debriefed


The ISD Editorial Board breaks down the breadth of the opinion section. 

Editorial Board

With editorials, columns, guest columns and letters, the opinion section is a fistful of commotion that often needs to be defined to make sense. 

Opinion as a whole serves a complementary purpose in the Iowa State Daily: to direct conversation and promote discussion of reported news topics. However, as seen throughout the opinion section, this can be done in a multitude of ways. Editorials, columns, guest columns and letters all serve their own purposes and are executed in their own unique ways.


Editorials are by far the most complex part of opinion. Editorials are written by the editorial board, which consists of a group of students recruited across campus to discuss local to international issues relevant to today. Editorials usually focus on the at-large issues. 

Currently, the editorial board has eight students (each with different majors, interests and political alignments). The most important thing you need to know about editorials is this: the editorial board votes on a consensus for what the argument should be concerning the respective issue, then we support it and refute it.


Columns are hyperspecific to opinion and are written by only columnists employed by the Iowa State Daily. The opinion section currently has 12 columnists. Columnists are unique because they have a specific writing day and only publish on those writing days. For example, Megan Ziemann only writes on Fridays (so be sure to find her in the Dose on those days). 

Columnists are not assigned topics like reporters are; they get to hand-pick their assignments based on their own interests. Every columnist has their own tone and niche, which is why there are so many. With every columnist, every topic is covered, even from Bigfoot to body image in marketing. 

Guest Columns and Letters

Guest columns and letters are submission. They are sent from members of the community or prospective writers who wish to get their pieces published to the opinion editor, Peyton Hamel, or editor-in-chief, Sage Smith. 

Guest columns and letters function the same as columns and editorials, except they differ in who is writing them. Guest columns are different than letters however. Letters are generally shorter than guest columns and do not provide in-depth evidence of their arguments, while guest columns are long and heavily evidence-based. You will also find letters are generally more campus- or community-related than guest columns are. 

Despite the different forms within opinion, we must remember these pieces are opinions, commentaries from writers who research these topics in-depth. 

The opinion section is surely an animal of its own, and it’s important to understand the differences between opinion and the rest of the newspaper. It functions differently and serves its own purpose. We, as the editorial board, hope this clears any confusion as to how the newspaper as a whole and the opinion section operate. 

We are here to support you and only you. If you would like to see any specific content concerning the issues of today, feel free to send in content requests to the opinion editor, Peyton Hamel, at [email protected]. If you have any grievances concerning the content of opinion, send in a letter. We would love to hear your feedback. Besides, your voice matters too! Contribute to the discussion and help make our newspaper better.