What makes this page different from the rest of the News?

Simple: We edit it, but you write (most of) it.

Guest columns, letters to the editor — each day, most of the content on this page is contributed by individuals who are not staff members of the News. That means you, the same you who were heralded so recently by Time magazine as their “Person of the Year” as the YouTube-uploading, Wikipedia-editing, blog-creating sign of a new era in information consumption and creation.

And though the News may be this campus’s version of the mainstream media, producing this paper is a collaborative effort, and the editorial page in particular strives to reflect the manifold voices of the community of Yale students, faculty, staff, alumni and New Haven community members that this paper serves. Though, unlike YouTube’s videos, the content on this page is edited, in selecting and editing columns and letters, the goal is always to reflect the diversity of views harbored in this campus.

But in order to publish a representative sample of campus and community views, we need a representative sample of you to contribute your work and let us know your thoughts. So we’re taking this moment to explain our policies on guest columns and letters in order to make it easier for would-be writers (i.e., you) to communicate with us.

The News welcomes all submissions of letters to the editor and guest columns. Most letters that we publish are direct responses to an article or column that appeared in the News, and we print letters both in favor and against previously published pieces. If anything, we are more likely to pick a letter that disagrees with our prior coverage to bring a new voice into the debate. Letters should run no more than 300 words and should be e-mailed to opinion@yaledailynews.com. Make sure to include your full name, an evening phone number and your affiliation (if any) with Yale.

Unlike letters, opinion columns should raise new topics for conversation. The range of topics we publish is as broad as the range of Yalies’ interests — obviously, many writers discuss politics, but we also publish columns about public health, Yale policy, and religious, gender and racial issues on campus and off. In general, we prefer columns about issues that pertain to Yale or New Haven; we’re more likely to publish a column about the federal student loan policy than a column about what the new Democratic majority should do about the Iraq war.

If you want to write a column, or think you might want to write a column, contact our editorials editor at opinion@yaledailynews.com. Opinion columns should run approximately 800 words and must be previously unpublished. When submitting a column, please include your full name, Yale affiliation and an evening phone number. And while this is primarily an undergraduate publication, we welcome submissions from graduate students, professional students, faculty members, staff, alumni and members of the New Haven community.

It’s that simple. So speak up.