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Understanding our content

Tips and pitches Print sections Multimedia Types of opinion pieces

An overview of the paper’s different sections, the various kinds of content we produce and the work that goes into that production.

Tips and pitches

We encourage community members to send in suggestions of things for StudLife to cover. You can submit your pitches and tips by emailing [email protected]. You can also reach out to individual editors by finding their email address on this page.

Pitches and tips can range from a question about University policy you would like us to answer to suggestions of an interesting person for us to profile or a shady event for us to investigate.

These are the five main sections that appear in StudLife each week.

News

The News section covers everything from campus pandemic policies to academics and Washington University’s relationship to the St. Louis region. Recent news articles have included breaking news coverage of a protest against Sexual Assault at the Medical school and WashU changing dining providers, an interview with Chancellor Martin about the future of WashU, investigations into the cancellation of Fall WILD, and how a state request for a stoppage of care at the WashU transgender clinic was denied. You can reach the editors by emailing [email protected].

Scene

The Scene section provides features about the people, places and things that make up the Washington University community. The section publishes profiles, Q+As, advice columns and other views into the lives of Washington University students, faculty, staff and neighbors. Scene also covers arts and entertainment within the WashU community. We do profiles, behind-the-scenes of life on campus, and stories that aren’t necessarily breaking news but deserve coverage. You can reach Scene editors by emailing [email protected].

Sports

The Sports section’s coverage primarily consists of news and features regarding Washington University’s 17 varsity athletics teams and the university athletics department. The section also sometimes includes coverage of club or intramural sports and often features commentary from students on local or national sports. Recent work has included an ongoing look at Black-student athletes calls for the university to diversify coaching positions, coverage of the newly built Washington University Sports Performance Center, and a dive into WashU Distance Medley Relay title win at the 2023 NCAA Division 3 Indoor Track and Field Championships. You can reach them by emailing [email protected].

Forum

The Forum section is StudLife’s home for opinion pieces and community member perspectives regarding the Washington University community. Forum publishes four types of content: staff articles, opinion submissions, letters to the editor and staff editorials. We explain each type of article in more detail below. Past Forum content has ranged from a reported feature calling for changes to the University’s mental health resources to submissions that have sparked activism on campus and commentary on community happenings. The Forum section strives to include a diverse array of perspectives and is working to include more faculty, staff and neighbor voices. You can reach them by emailing [email protected].

Multimedia

In addition to those five sections, StudLife has a growing multimedia team. The multimedia staff supports the efforts of the other sections, such as with projects like the Portrait Representation Project or StudLife Wrapped, while also producing multimedia-focused content of their own, such as Editor’s Note, StudLife’s weekly podcast, special audio series like Reopening and photo essays or videos.

Photo

Elle Su and Zoe Oppenheimer leads the StudLife photo team, whose work ranges from sports and protests to photo essays and event coverage. You can reach the photo editors by emailing [email protected].

Illustrations

Senior Tuesday Hadden leads our illustrations team, which makes graphics and other visualizations and supports the StudLife design team with our special issues. We also create weekly illustrations for our caption contest. You can reach Tuesday and the illustrations team by emailing [email protected].

Types of opinion pieces

A quick overview:

Opinion submissions

Opinion submissions (previously known as “op-eds”) are written and submitted by members of the community who are unaffiliated with StudLife. These articles solely reflect the opinion of the author or authors, not that of StudLife or its editors. Opinion submissions are around 500 to 1000 words, have a central argument, and are not a platform for solely self-or-group promotional content. To submit an opinion piece, email [email protected] with the subject line “Opinion Submission”. We encourage community members of all backgrounds to submit opinion pieces — StudLife is a student newspaper, but we strive to include the voices of people beyond students, from faculty and staff to alumni and campus neighbors or St. Louis residents.

StudLife fact-checks every opinion piece thoroughly, just as we do every other piece we publish. We reserve the right to reject opinion submissions for any reason or no reason at all. Reasons include but are not limited to factually inaccuracy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or otherwise objectionable content. Opinion submissions can be written by multiple people, but all authors must be included in the byline. As of January 18, 2022, opinion submissions cannot have a list of co-signatories; rather, if desired, authors may link a [public] petition. Except in extreme circumstances, StudLife does not publish anonymous opinion submissions, and in those circumstances at least one editor must know the identity of the article’s author.

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor are opinion submissions that respond to other StudLife articles or to StudLife content in general. Community members should include a link to the initial StudLife article or articles in their letter. The same standards for opinion submissions apply to letters to the editor.

Staff editorials

Staff editorials exist to provide an additional student perspective on key issues relating to the Washington University community. Staff editorials are the product of the regular meetings of the StudLife editorial board, which is composed of editors from across the StudLife staff.

The editorial board operates independently of the StudLife news team. News and photo editors are not members of the editorial board and do not attend editorial board meetings except to occasionally provide informational context on a given topic. Once editorial board members choose a topic at a given meeting, any editors who have reported on the topic within the previous full semester recuse themselves and do not participate in the meeting. This recusal policy enables us to ensure the integrity of our news reporting and build trust with our readership.

Each StudLife staff editorial includes a list of staffers present at the relevant editorial board meeting or meetings. The Senior Forum Editors lead discussions at editorial board meetings and can either assign staff editorials to individual members of the editorial board or choose to write the editorials themselves. Staff editorials represent the opinion of a majority of editorial board members present at the meeting, not that of the newspaper or the newspaper’s news section. We only publish staff editorials if there is a quorum (half plus one) of editorial board members present at the relevant meeting.

The editorial board strives to cover a diverse array of material in staff editorials, but we know there is always more room for improvement. If you have a topic you would like to see in a future staff editorial, you can submit suggestions by emailing [email protected].

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