Hannah Barbosa-Cesnik is a sophomore in Columbia College. She is the current editor of Spectator's Opinion section.
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Opinion staffers can expect to grow in their communication skills—we deal with people at all levels, with all different background, from administrators to student activists, and learning how to critique and believe in their work is an invaluable tool. They’ll gain institutional knowledge, and feel like they can make a positive impact on campus by directing and reflecting conversation.
Honestly, I joined because I wanted to help people tell their stories. I’ve always had a passion for editing, and framing a story, pushing it to its limit is an extraordinary experience when there’s trust between the author and the editor. So I came for the work, but I stayed for the people who were kind, inspiring, and a little bit crazy—I stayed for the little neurotic family I became a part of.
Opinion is the heart of journalism, and arguably the Columbia experience as well. People understand their world through the lenses they are given. That is what editorials do, provide a human face to news coverage and statistics, give you the stakes, help you understand your world. In Opinion, we don’t just help people get their stories told by reflecting the Columbia experience, we recruit pieces so that we can impact it as well. As an editor, you are unique in having both your own college experience, and in many ways taking part in the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of hundreds of authors as well.
In Opinion staff, I look for compassion, an ability to empathize and compromise, good communication, humility, passion and drive. Efficiency and organization are also paramount to good staffers and good leaders. And, of course, a willingness to learn and a belief in the ability of journalism to make an impact is always good.