Stephen Strong

Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got in this situation. Well, it all began when I was a freshman and got an F on my first English 101 paper. Needless to say, I was pissed.

But I pulled myself together and learned how to write like I had a brain (I generally try to act the way I imagine people with brains act). Since that class, I’ve gotten an A on nearly every writing assignment I’ve been given, and as a matter of fact, I found out I actually really like writing.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself though, so here’s a little background on me. I am a senior studying Finance and International Business. I speak German, love Russian literature and also like normal things like Panda Express and video games.

So, now that I’ve introduced myself, I’d like to introduce my column.

The first thing I should say is, I’m not a fan of opinion journalism. I know, that’s a very odd thing for an opinion journalist to say, but there it is. The reason I’m not generally a fan of this kind of format is that if an opinion journalist was not a journalist, they would just be someone who was opinionated.

Let’s be real here—an opinion unsupported by any evidence, given by someone without relevant education and aimed at no one in particular has more in common with a YouTube comment than it does with journalism.

Take the opinion I’m giving you right now for example, I’m not citing any statistics. I don’t have a background in journalism. For all you know, opinion journalism is great, and I’m just some curmudgeonly moron hiding under the veneer of a respectable publication. I’m poking your brain trying to elicit a response and seeing how far you (or my editor) will let me go. That’s what columnists do. But, while I do enjoy poking your brains, I want this column to be different.

What I want to achieve with this column is almost the opposite of opinion journalism. We live in a time where traditional news media is on the verge of being replaced by long-form independent journalism (no citation: perks of the job, you see).

Faced with declining ratings and low viewership, mainstream media outlets have become more and more sensational, and often as representative of the real world as a reality TV show. It also doesn’t help that we live in exceptionally sensational times; you can’t even get your morning cup of covfefe without hearing something that makes you smell burnt toast.

The perfect example of this is the recent talk of the United States purchasing Greenland from Denmark. That’s not news, that’s a meme! It’s so out of place with the reality we live in that it’s hard to even think about.

But here’s the rub: it’s worth thinking about. There’s something real here; it’s not just some clickbait that a desperate news network is using to keep you from changing the channel—it’s a real thing.

So, that’s what I want to do with this column. I want to think about this stuff. I want to go a little deeper than the clickbait, and I want to take you with me.

Here on the Daily Beacon website, there is a seldom-used feature called the comment section, and the crazy thing is that in the comment section we’re all opinion journalists. Hopefully, if I build off your opinion, and you build off my opinion, we might eventually come up with something approximating the truth.

I look forward to writing for you and hearing what you have to say!

Sincerely,

Stephen Strong

P.S. I reserve the right to deviate from this premise whenever I want. Perks of the job, you see.

Stephen Strong is a senior majoring in Finance and International Business. He can be reached at sstrong8@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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