Spokane experiments with change; the editorial staff cultivates connection by opening pages to outsiders' opinions.On June 3, 1895, when William Allen White For other persons of the same name, see William White.
William Allen White (Born February 10, 1868 in Emporia, Kansas - died January 31, 1944) was a renowned American newspaper editor. wrote his first editorial for the Emporia Gazette The Emporia Gazette is a daily newspaper in Emporia, Kansas.
The newspaper rose to national attention after William Allen White bought the newspaper for $3,000 in 1895. , he told his "gentle reader" that "the new editor hopes to live here until he is the old editor. . . . His relations with the people of this town and country are to be close and personal. He hopes that they may be kindly and just."
A century later, editorial writers have distanced themselves from readers who do not seem so gentle. When we look out our office doors we don't see fellow townspeople on a dusty Kansas street; we see colleagues from the closed world of corporate journalism.
We see fellow "professionals" who presume to know better than mere townspeople what is important, what is wrong, and what should be done to fix all ills.
Demands for production plus a focus on faraway far·a·way
1. Very distant; remote.
2. Abstracted; dreamy: a faraway look.
1. very distant
2. issues mean editorial writers get out less than reporters do. Most write anonymously for a committee, whose exposure to the public consists of meetings with politicians, public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most people, executives, and other insiders. Many of us sense, not just from our angry mail, that something is amiss a·miss
1. Out of proper order: What is amiss?
2. Not in perfect shape; faulty.
In an improper, defective, unfortunate, or mistaken way. .
We still want to make a difference as White did on his first day. So some of us are beginning to experiment with change. In spite of the newspaper industry's current struggles, we have reason for optimism in the fundamentals of our craft.
Communities need the skills at which opinion journalists excel - research, analysis, reason, and advocacy. But we have to do something about the barriers our profession has built between itself and the readers.
If we are going to cultivate a connection with readers, the first thing to do is to welcome them onto our pages.
The Spokesman-Review now runs a full page of letters to the editor each day. Twice a week we publish a reader-written "Your Turn" column beneath our staff-written editorial. In addition, by recruiting a board of volunteer citizen-contributors, The Spokes-man-Review has increased the number of lengthier guest columns it publishes.
Our two interactive editors go into the community to recruit writers, speak before local civic groups, and hold issue forums.
None of this replaces the editorial board, which still takes stands. Rather, the outreach aggressively opens our doors to a rich, new source of informed commentary - the general public.
This creates new challenges for editors, who must protect standards for accuracy, fair comment, and civility without censoring censoring
in epidemiology, a loss of information from a study, whether by subjects dropping out of the study or because of infrequent measurement. the style, views, and enthusiasm of non-journalist writers. The challenge is worth tackling.
With the public pursuing electronic avenues for grassroots commentary, newspapers can wither, or thrive. Why should talk radio and the Internet get all the action?
Newspapers have assets the competition lacks, including large staffs of skilled editors. The public's interest in participation indicates a healthy trend for democracy - as newspapers will appreciate if they open their doors and their editors' minds.
Meanwhile, in our own work as professional writers, we will only hurt ourselves if we let the tradition of anonymity hide our individual expertise and our identity as neighbors with a stake in community progress.
As the Internet buries us all with information, credibility becomes crucial. The credibility of an article hinges on knowing who is speaking and with what motives.
Over the years, non-journalists have told me they're mystified mys·ti·fy
tr.v. mys·ti·fied, mys·ti·fy·ing, mys·ti·fies
1. To confuse or puzzle mentally. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. To make obscure or mysterious. , even suspicious, about anonymous writing that speaks for an anonymous, corporate committee. And from my vantage point, while committee discussion usually adds value to an editorial, when time is short and pressure is high the committees tend to do what's safe - sometimes grinding passion, style, and original thought to mush (MultiUser Shared Hallucination) See MUD.
1. (games) MUSH - Multi-User Shared Hallucination.
2. (messaging) MUSH - Mail Users' Shell. .
To help address these concerns, The Spokesman-Review publishes the names of editorial board members every day, and each editorial is signed by the author. Allowing writers to reveal their identity as members of the community they share with the readers improves credibility, accountability, and creative freedom.
When White's writing outraged a towns-woman early in his career, it wasn't some stuffy "institutional voice" that she tried to horsewhip horse·whip
A whip used to control a horse.
tr.v. horse·whipped, horse·whip·ping, horse·whips
To beat with or as if with a horsewhip. - it was him. And when White became a beloved national figure, leader, and spokesperson for America's small towns, it wasn't because he considered himself above his Kansas community. Rather, he had made himself a part of it.
Readers recognize arrogance, and they recognize commitment, too. In years to come, whether we publish editorials on paper or computer screens, if we know the people we're talking about and if they have a chance to know us, what we write will matter.
How will public journalism Public journalism may mean:
Not at all. It'll fade. Like other vague fads.
- PAUL GREENBERG
Very little. We've always had public journalism to some extent. Editorial pages, in particular, should play a role in this endeavor, but leave news coverage alone. No matter how you dress it up, the lingo Lingo - An animation scripting language.
[MacroMind Director V3.0 Interactivity Manual, MacroMind 1991]. used by "public" journalists today is similar to the lingo by advocacy reporters and editors of the 1960s.
- JOHN ZAKARIAN
Public journalism is a fad.
- JACK CONNORS
It may attempt to supplant sup·plant
tr.v. sup·plant·ed, sup·plant·ing, sup·plants
1. To usurp the place of, especially through intrigue or underhanded tactics.
2. editorial sections in the newsroom.
- HARRY E. FULLER JR.
I fear that it will become a sorry substitute for editorial leadership. Not all opinions are equal, but public journalism pretends they are.
- SUE RYON
It should make us reach out to readers' questions.
- JERRY C. AUSBAND
In the broad sense, most editorial writing involves what we are calling public journalism
- RUSS PULLIAM
I've found my role as editorial writer one of the most comfortable in the public journalism projects in which my station has been a partner.
- NElL HEINEN
It COULD add needed public issues to the average newspaper's agenda and make editorials more relevant. It also COULD stifle the creativity and drive of the eclectic leaders whose energies have given life, color, and personal direction to editorial pages.
- JOHN E. SIMONDS
Not at all, I hope.
- DON ROBINSON Don Robinson can refer to different people:
Surely public journalism will be just a horrible memory 10 years from now.
I think it's just a fad . . . either that, or the public will be in charge of writing editorials - worst-case scenario worst-case scenario n → Schlimmstfallszenario nt .
- SHARON BROUSSARD
It'll fizzle fiz·zle
intr.v. fiz·zled, fiz·zling, fiz·zles
1. To make a hissing or sputtering sound.
2. Informal To fail or end weakly, especially after a hopeful beginning.
Public journalism has a dampening effect on editorials, making them limp and timid.
- NANCY Q. KEEFE
"Public journalism" is what the editorial board should have been doing all along and for the most part has.
- KAY SEMION
We will learn more innovative, creative ways to bring readers onto the page and will help inspire communities to come to judgment instead of preaching from on high.
- ANDREA BRUNAIS
I hope it won't. Bad concept.
- CAL THOMAS
I hope it will be seen for the disaster it is; who needs edits when reporters editorialize ed·i·to·ri·al·ize
intr.v. ed·i·to·ri·al·ized, ed·i·to·ri·al·iz·ing, ed·i·to·ri·al·iz·es
1. To express an opinion in or as if in an editorial.
2. To present an opinion in the guise of an objective report. ?
- LINDA SEEBACH
It will continue to compromise a paper's objectivity. It will long be dead in 50 years (assuming human evolution hasn't stopped).
- DEREK K. MELOT
I fear it may have a chilling effect This article or section may deal primarily with the U.S. and may not present a worldwide view. on strong opinion.
- CHARLES J. DUNSIRE
NCEW NCEW National Conference of Editorial Writers member John Webster is opinion editor of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.