Every day, the editorial staff at the UK wonders: What are we writing about, why are we writing about it, and how are we writing about it? A weekly look behind the scenes.
Although thankfully not too often, we do regularly get asked: Where are your editorial comments? You know so much about the university, so why don’t you have a weekly personal opinion on what’s happening at the RUG?
Yantai. Hazing. Vindicat. The bang list. Cutbacks. Money-wasting. Coca Cola. Fraud. The Nobel Prize. Plenty of things to have an opinion about, so what is the UK’s opinion? Dear editors, will the editorials return?
No, dear readers. The UK will not editorialise.
Editorial comments served a purpose in a time when information was scarce and it was awkward/difficult/impossible to ‘have an opinion on things’. It also served an affirmative function: religious readers could identify with the Trouw’s editorial, leftist readers felt vindicated in their opinions because the Volkskrant held the same ones, and conservative readers would parry them, bolstered by De Telegraaf’s editorial comments.
But information is no longer scarce. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In 2016, the trick is rather to filter information. And pillarisation is fortunately no longer an issue. As far as I’m concerned, the editorial has become a prehistoric and pedantic journalistic tool.
The UK reports the news on the RUG and higher education. We try to clarify and contextualise that news as much as possible with relevant background stories. But please feel free to form your own opinion. You are more than capable of doing so, and you might even be better off without us telling you how to feel.
Stupid little opinions
Besides, I despair at all these stupid little opinions that are often completely off-beat or, worse, laughable. I remember how the editor-in-chief at the Algemeen Dagblad once wrote a piece criticising China. His comments ended on the following words, or something like them: ‘This is the AD’s final warning to China’.
I suspect that they immediately went to DefCon 1 at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Mobilise, the AD is warning us! And it’s not just any warning, it’s the final warning!
In a word, nonsense.
However, speaking of China… That does give me an idea. I would like to try something out.
Board of Directors (Sibrand Poppema, Jan de Jeu, Elmer Sterken): This is the UK’s final warning!
I can hear their laughter echoing up and down the Oude Boteringestraat. Because: ‘No comment!’
Rob Siebelink, editor-in-chief