Staff Editorial: No more word limits

By Mac Weekly Staff

Starting with the next issue, The Mac Weekly will no longer have word limits for submissions to the opinion section. Being concise is important. At the Mac Weekly, we try to express the information in our news and features stories in ways that tell the reader what they need to know without dragging on for too long, repeating ourselves, being redundant, having run-on sentences, saying the same thing more than once, making overly long lists, beleaguering the point, or listing synonyms. That last sentence was a joke, but we really are serious about being cogent and cohesive. At the same time, we recognize that each story deserves to be told in full. Though we have to manage a finite amount of page space, we recognize that some ideas and events need to be explored in more than 1,000 words. Occasionally, we’ve run stories that take up a two-page spread. As a paper, we think it is more valuable to run long complete stories than to restrict them to arbitrary word limits. We feel the same way about student, alumni, and staff submissions. Our word limits have always been more guidelines than laws, but we want to make it clear that the length of a piece shouldn’t stop anyone from submitting it. Some of the best editorials we ran last semester, which discussed some pretty substantial issues, were also some of the longest. A lack of a word limit should give opinion writers more space to fully explore issues in depth, and hopefully lead to more free expression. Of course, it’s not possible for us to print every 1500 word article we receive, and the lack of word limits means that editors will have to work more closely with writers—this is a good thing. It leads to a more open and accessible paper. Do you want to write an in-depth exploration of politics, multiculturalism at Macalester, the philosophy of poached eggs, or anything else? Don’t worry about how many words it takes. Write it, send it in, and we’ll work with you to help make it happen.