Comment & Analysis
Apr 9, 2024

The Woes of an Opinion Editor

"What can an opinion editor do when she runs out of ideas for an article?" asks Sophie Coffey

Sophie CoffeyOpinion Editor

There is nothing like an opinion writer who has run out of opinions to write. At this point in the year, as we reached our final print, I encountered the worry that I had drained my reserve of articulate opinions. It is one thing for the articles in progress folder to be sparse on my desktop. It is another thing entirely for my brain to be equally lacking.

Since September I have been the opinion editor of The University Times, which also means that since September, virtually every thought I’ve had has been considered in light of the question, “Could I convert this into an article?”. For reference the answer has been yes for the topics of learning to drive and arts degrees. But it has been a resounding no for pieces on coffee prices and 9am tutorials – although, in hindsight, perhaps if I had tried to combine those two ideas into a single article I might have managed it.

The obstacle I have encountered in trying to come up with articles has provided me with a newfound awe for columnists who manage to consistently find new material for their regular columns. If I was required to look at my most recent seven day period in order to generate material for a weekly column, the most exciting thing that happened was probably the occasion I managed to get three journeys out of the TFI’s 90 minute fare. In fact, any publication that offered me a regular column (naturally any reading editors are more than welcome to) would likely find themselves in receipt of a selection of articles along the lines of ‘I tripped on the cobblestones in Front Square’ and ‘I snoozed my alarm seven times this morning’.


Despite my current lack of inspiring material, the opinion section has been a diverse wealth of articles thanks to the contributions of talented writers. This year we have covered everything from student politics and college pressures to coffee cups and flight delays. The opinion section has allowed students and staff alike to offer their thoughts on topics that matter to them. So while this particular article wins no awards for its content, the conclusion to this brief piece is this: submit and reach out to the student papers across campus (most especially to The University Times!). It can seem intimidating and daunting to engage, but considering my response to having no ideas was to generate an article about aforementioned lack of ideas, I can assure you that we take all pitches into consideration and would love to hear from you!

So what can an opinion editor do when she runs out of ideas for an article? As it turns out, the answer is simple. Take a metatextual approach and produce an entire article inspired by faltering inspiration.

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