The ‘why and how’ of editorials |

The ‘why and how’ of editorials

“Opinions have vested interests, just as men have”

Samuel Butler, 1892-1940

Butler was right. This newspaper offers opinions in the form of an ‘editorial,’ right here, in this spot where your eyes rest at this moment. We have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the Sierra Sun in regard to being the newspaper of opinion in the area. We also have a vested interest in the future of Truckee, as this is our hometown. Where these two interests meet is among the news and feature reports in these pages. Often, where these two interests collide is in this editorial space. Such is life in a small newspaper in a small town, and we gladly serve both.

An editorial ought to meet one or more of following ‘tests’: it should contain solid research and make a significant statement; it should be a call to action and be enjoyable to read; it should have context and historical perspective; it should be from an identifiable circle of opinion existing somewhere within the community that it serves.

The latter condition is difficult. A newspaper ought not to be the ‘oddball’ in the community in its opinions, unless choosing to go against community ‘norms’ arises out of a moral, legal or an ethical necessity. Hundreds of unpopular newspaper editorials in the 50’s and 60’s in support of civil rights, for which many southern-state newspapers suffered great economic losses, are a good example of the latter. How a newspaper defines “an identifiable circle of opinion existing somewhere in the community” is a difficulty, indeed, but something which a newspaper must do.

Such is the purpose of this editorial. With the coming of a new publisher and editor (two people) to lead this newspaper, the Sierra Sun will begin an Editorial Advisory Board comprised of community members. (We define ‘community members’ as anyone who has a stake in Truckee’s future; whether they live inside the town limits matters not.)

Our new publisher and editor will be announced in the Sun on May 9th. As they go forward in leading this 134-year-old newspaper, the Editorial Advisory Board will be a tremendous resource for them in producing editorials which meet the ‘tests’ outlined at right.

The board will be comprised of a representative body of 12 people from the community who will attend a meeting every other month, for the sole purpose of discussing community issues with each other, and with the Sun’s publisher and editor.

Naturally, the Sierra Sun will reserve the right to form, write and publish its own opinions.

If you would like to be considered for service on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Sierra Sun, or if you would like to nominate someone whom you feel would be ideal for service on the board, please send a letter to “Editorial Advisory Board,” c/o Sierra Sun, PO Box 2973, Truckee, CA 96160. Please state in the letter what you or your nominee would bring to the over all effort, what are your (or nominee’s) current and historical political and organizational affiliations, any other thoughts you might have about the matter, and a manner in which we might contact you. We’ll take it from there.

No email submissions, please.

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