Policies

Opinion guidelines

The Trinitonian adheres to the canons of responsible journalism and will not publish libel, indecency, vulgarity, undocumented allegations, or unsupported attacks on individuals or groups. The Trinitonian does not publish advocacy of violence or harm against others and does not publish harassment or innuendo.

Commonly recognized standards of truth, decency and fairness apply to all Trinitonian content. 

The Trinitonian provides a forum for free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. Opinion pieces are written to persuade readers, call readers to action or both. While based on reason and objectively verifiable facts, opinion pieces have a mission other than informing readers with unbiased reporting. Rhetorical devices can and should be used effectively in persuasive writing, but the Trinitonian will likely not publish statements relying on propaganda techniques such as fear mongering, misrepresentation and broad generalizations. 

The Trinitonian encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints by both staff columnists and guest columnists. Publication of an opinion is not the Trinitonian’s endorsement of the opinion. Opinion pieces submitted to the Trinitonian may appear in print and on the Trinitonian’s website and become the property of the Trinitonian. 

Types of Opinion Pieces

Editorial: A column written by a member of the editorial board. The editor-in-chief determines the make-up of the editorial board each year, and the names of members are published weekly in the Trinitonian. The editorial is unsigned, meets the standards of the professional press and represents the opinion of the publication. Responsibility for the editorial rests with the editor-in-chief. In compliance with the Board of Campus Publications Charter, editorial writers receive training in opinion writing. 

Opinion column: An opinion piece written by a paid staff member hired specifically as an opinion writer that is roughly 600-800 words. The opinions of the author belong to the author and are not necessarily shared by the Trinitonian as a publication or by individual staff members. In compliance with the Board of Campus Publications Charter, writers of opinion pieces receive training in opinion writing. Opinion columns are signed. The author’s photo appears with the column. 

Guest column: An opinion piece written by an affiliate (student, faculty member, staff member, alumnus, etc.) of Trinity University that is roughly 600-800 words. The Trinitonian publishes these opinions to fulfill its role as an open forum. The Trinitonian does not compensate the authors, nor does it endorse opinions expressed in guest columns. Guest opinion columns are signed. The author’s photo appears with the column. 

The Trinitonian does not publish guest columns written by anyone unaffiliated with Trinity. As a policy, we do not permit anonymous submissions. If you feel your circumstances prevent you from submitting an op-ed or letter with your name, please email trinitonian@trinity.edu to explain your situation.

The Trinitonian does not accept submissions written on behalf of an organization, club or group, whether at Trinity, in San Antonio or on a national or international scale. We discourage groups of people from submitting articles together except when absolutely necessary. In such cases, we will likely restrict primary authorship to two individuals, while acknowledging the additional authors in their contributing role.

Letter to the Editor: Also an opinion piece written by an affiliate of the University, usually submitted to the editor without prior arrangement and providing specific comment on an event or issue,  that is roughly under 400 words. Letters are shorter than guest columns. The identity of the writer will be verified prior to publication. Letters cannot be anonymous or signed by groups. 

Response opinion columns and letters: Opinion pieces written by either a staff member or an affiliate in response to a previously published Trinitonian content. Follows all other guest column guidelines.

Publication of Guest and Response Columns

When a guest columnist expresses interest in submitting an opinion piece to the Trinitonian, the Opinion editor will deliver these content guidelines to the writer. 

When the guest opinion piece is delivered to the Opinion editor, the Opinion editor will review the piece and take concerns to copy editors, the executive team, or both. If necessary, Trinitonian editors will seek clarification and/or resolution with the guest opinion writer. 

In the interest of accuracy, fairness and service to the reader, the Trinitonian reserves the right to: 

  • review and edit every piece for clarity and AP style;
  • request revisions when Trinitonian content guidelines are violated;
  • not publish a column because it violates Trinitonian content guidelines.

Nothing slated for publication in the Trinitonian will be shared outside the newsroom before publication. (Of course, a guest columnist might seek input from friends or advisers during the drafting phase, but the columnist should not share a final column until it is published.)

The initial piece must have been published at least 12 hours before a response column is published. 

In the event the Trinitonian receives multiple responses to a previously published piece, the editor-in-chief may limit the number of responses actually published. 

Similarly, the editor-in-chief may limit the number of columns or letters on any one topic.

Writer Identification

Readers have the right to know relevant information about anyone expressing opinions in the Trinitionian. Every signed opinion piece will conclude with the author’s profile. To determine what to include in this brief profile, the Opinion editor should ask: 

Is the writer/has the writer been involved in any organization relevant to the opinions expressed?

Is the writer/has the writer been involved in any rival/alternative organization relevant to the opinions expressed? 

What other factors have influenced the writer’s opinion?

Could the writer benefit personally by persuading others of the expressed viewpoint?

The Trinitonian reserves the right to edit all submissions for style and clarity prior to publication, though authors will be contacted regarding any major changes. Any columnist may be asked to edit their column in-person in the Campus Publications office with the opinion editor and/or the editor-in-chief or otherwise their column may not be published. The Trinitonian is responsible for all headlines. 

Please send in submissions at least 24 hours in advance of your desired publication date. Once your submission is published in The Herald, The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. owns the copyright to the materials. 

Commenting

The Trinitonian is a public forum and welcomes readers to engage with articles to further discussion on a topic. The Trinitonian does not edit comments; however, the publication maintains the right to remove a comment without notice to the commenter if the comment contains any of the following:

Excessively long, irrelevant, or off-topic statements, including, but not limited to, spam, advertisements and gibberish.

Abusive or hateful words

Threats or encouragement of violence

Disclosure of personal or private information about any individual 

The Trinitonian regularly monitors comments, but if you think we may have missed a comment that goes against these guidelines, please email us at trinitonian@trinity.edu.

Purchasing content

Those interested in purchasing content from the current school year should reach out to the business manager (jjuran@trinity.edu) or the editor-in-chief (trinitonian@trinity.edu).

Any inquiries of content from previous years should be directed to Trinity’s archivist (jneal@trinity.edu).