It’s been little more than a week since I joined The State as the Opinion editor, and I already have some thanks to dish out.
First, thanks for all of the “welcome” emails; trust me, they have been much appreciated.
Second, thanks for taking it easy on me after my premature boast last week that my Jacksonville Jaguars would whip the Carolina Panthers. Uh, things didn’t quite work out that way — but you folks have been nice about not throwing my smack back in my face.
Finally, thanks for all of the questions asking me what’s in the works for the Opinion page as we move forward.
Here are some of those great questions — along with some hopefully helpful answers.
Q: Will there be a place on the Opinion page for op-ed pieces by local contributors?
A: Absolutely, there will be a place for local op-ed pieces; so often they serve as valuable sources of insight for The State’s Opinion page readers.
But will the Opinion page feature a local op-ed every day?
No, it won’t.
And we’re going to raise the bar for the local submissions we will publish.
Well, here is a checklist we’ll consult when deciding whether to run a submitted local piece — and the questions on it should draw strong “yes” answers:
· Is the piece more than just a litany of talking points?
· Does the piece address a topic that a typical reader of The State’s Opinion page would find interesting enough to read about?
· Does the piece focus on an issue that could realistically affect the lives of readers — or the quality of life in their communities — in a direct way?
· Does the piece make an effort to provide insight in a fresh and unique way?
I’m sure there are lots of prospective Opinion contributors who are up to that challenge, so feel free to send along submissions that rise to it.
Q: Will the Opinion page make an endorsement in South Carolina’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary?
Here’s the short answer: stay tuned.
The Opinion page plans to be a platform for distinctive, thought-provoking commentary on the state’s 2020 presidential primary. And as part of that effort, we will push to bring in as many presidential contenders as we can for candidate interviews.
How many will we land? We’ll see.
But here’s one guarantee that I can already make: the voice of The State’s Opinion page will be heard during the primary season, and we will enrich the conversation on the choice facing South Carolina’s voters.
Q: Will the Opinion Page create a community advisory board with members who offer their perspectives and views on what they’re seeing?
We will put together an advisory board that will meet on a quarterly basis and have a productive dialogue on how the Opinion page is doing.
I’ll bring the refreshments to our sessions; equally important, I will also bring two open ears.
What’s the only requirement to being an advisory board member? Well, you should be a regular reader of The State: it will ensure that you’re well-equipped to offer solid feedback when the advisory board meets.
If you’re interested in sitting on the advisory board, just email me and tell me what you think you would bring to the mix.
Q: Does The State Opinion page have other ideas for encouraging local input?
Yes, and here’s one of them:
We want to establish an Interactive Reader Email Group that will receive occasional questions about newsworthy topics; we’ll then take the replies and observations of group members and make them the centerpiece of an entire Letters to the Editor section.
That’s down the line, so keep an eye out for details on how to join the reader group.
OK, now that we’ve run through some of your questions, I have a simple one for you:
What are some of the local and regional issues that you think the Opinion page should be diving into and weighing in on?
Yes, I do want to know.
So give me your suggestions in the space provided below in the Comments section.
Roger Brown is The State’s Opinion editor. He can be reached at (803) 771-8464 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also catch him on Twitter: RBrown_SCOpin.