The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

February 5, 2009

From the Publisher's Desk: Opinions can be shared in many ways


Ever turned to Page 4 of our newspaper, read the editorial and strongly agreed or disagreed with the opinion?

I can imagine there were times when you nodded in agreement or, conversely, thought, "What the heck were they thinking?"

Well, as an editorial board member, I certainly understand why. In fact, it is rare that all of the board members agree unanimously on our editorials. So I thought explaining how the process works would be in order.

Our editorial board consists of eight people _ seven newsroom employees and me. Once a week, we gather to discuss stories from the past week, current and future issues and formulate our opinions.

In roundtable fashion, each member suggests a topic to get it out of the gate. Then the rest of the board members chime in with their two cents, and the horse is off and running.

We operate in a democratic fashion and everyone votes on whether an idea carries.

The discussions that ensue are healthy, at times humorous and sometimes heated. Like you, we all are passionate about certain subjects and our individual backgrounds provide a needed difference of opinion.

After all members have weighed in on the debate, we determine what it is we want to say, and a proposal for an editorial is made. Then we vote.

An editorial opinion must win by at least two votes to carry. Now, I can honestly say that as publisher, I have been outvoted, and our editor has, too.

There have been times when the publisher and editor have been on the same side of a particular issue, and alas, a majority of the board members voted the other way. The editorial reflecting their opinion was printed for your enjoyment or outrage.

Has there been a recent editorial that you strongly opposed or couldn't agree more with? Want to share your thoughts with others, including our board?

Well, holding firm to the freedom of speech, there are several ways that you can express your point of view. First, many of you may not be aware that our editorial board meetings are open, and anyone is welcome to join us.

On Tuesdays at 3 p.m. in The Daily Star conference room, the public has an open invitation to sit in.

We encourage and provoke dialogue, so the more, the merrier. Please contact Managing Editor Cary Brunswick (cary@thedailystar.com or 432-1000, ext. 217) in advance if you would like to attend.

Second, you can pen a letter to the editor for publication. A guideline to that process appears on our Opinion page each day, and we encourage you to voice your opinion.

If you caught my most-recent column, we have a new online feature through which you can engage other community members in discussion on a particular topic.

You can join in by visiting www.thedailystar.com/forum. I can assure you that on the forum, you will experience both supporters and opponents, much like in our meetings. It is sure to be enlightening and frustrating at the same time.

I am proud that my opinion isn't the only one that appears on Page 4 and of the diversity that brings. I am even more excited that our community chimes in regularly to stimulate further discussion on matters that affect us all.

As for my resolution to give up smoking, I have nothing new to report. I am still steady at between five and 10 cigarettes a day, which for now, I am happy with. It is a far cry from the two packs I smoked daily a few months ago.

I don't look at it as a failure, but a success, and I will get there. I have the will, I just haven't found the way to kick them altogether.

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Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star and may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214, or tshalor@thedailystar.com. Her column appears every other week.