Our View: The process of crafting an opinion
December 30, 2009
The term of the current Editorial Board almost is over, and on Monday a new roster of community representatives will join newspaper staffers each week in attempting to reach a consensus on local issues for weekly opinion pieces.
However, current board members wanted to discuss a different subject than usual — the Editorial Board process itself — in today's piece before concluding their service Saturday.
The Editorial Board meets once a week, at noon Mondays at the Craig Daily Press office in downtown Craig.
The board usually consists of six or seven members — the newspaper editor and publisher are continuous members — and at least three community representatives. The community representatives are rotated every three months.
Through once-a-week meetings, opinions are crafted for Wednesday's and Saturday's opinion pages.
Perhaps, current Editorial Board members believe, there is a misconception that exists in the community as to how editorial opinions are created. Some have said, and incorrectly so, that editorials are primarily the opinion of one board member.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Essentially, the Editorial Board process is as democratic as the Daily Press can make it.
Opinions are the general consensus of board members, with no particular board member having more sway than another.
For instance, if one board member is trumpeting a particular cause, other board members will listen to his or her opinion on the matter.
If another board member is led to believe something similar, then those two opinions are weighed against that of other board members.
However, say three of the other board members do not agree with the message being pushed by the other two. If that's the case, a general consensus hasn't been reached, and the opinion piece then becomes that of the three board members in opposition, or the topic is scrubbed altogether in lieu of an issue the board can find common ground on.
In no way are the weekly editorials the work of one person — or one newspaper's — agenda.
The Editorial Board was created as a sounding board for people in the community, not as a mechanism to push platforms or political purposes.
It also was created as a way to stimulate discussion and debate among community residents and local officials.
In this regard, sometimes the editorials make their mark, other times they miss completely on achieving their stated purpose.
Another question that sometimes arises in the community involves how Editorial Board members are selected.
The explanation to this is quite simple: whoever wants to participate usually can, and a wide cross-section of people, backgrounds and interests usually is the driving force behind selection.
If someone is interested, the newspaper will consider them, and more often than not, bring them aboard. Some factors are considered, such as whether the person has served previously, and if so, how long ago.
Still, generally speaking, if someone wants to participate, the Daily Press usually will find a way for him or her to do so.
Current Editorial Board members expressed satisfaction with the process and encouraged others in the community to participate, if they're interested. The only qualification is having an assortment of opinions and being able to listen to the input of others, as well.
The new board beginning Monday, while almost full, is still short a member or two, so if anyone is interested, please contact editor Joshua Roberts at 875-1791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.