A great start for the Opinion page’s advisory board

We have created a monster.

And I could not be happier.

In my column last week, I touched on the Opinion page’s plan to create a community advisory board that would meet on a quarterly basis and provide feedback on how the page is doing.

I also invited you folks to submit your names if you were interested in serving as advisory board members. And I will admit that after I wrote the column, I had an anxiety dream later that night.

“What if no one volunteers for this thing?” I kept thinking.

“What if my invite gets the ‘sound of crickets’ treatment?” I kept wondering.

Well, it’s safe to say this: I lost sleep for no reason.

At the moment, more than 20 of you have volunteered to be advisory board members, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more replies are coming in while I’m writing this.

It’s been an overwhelming response, far greater than I actually expected.

How great is that?!

And in light of that development, three thoughts come to mind:

First, rather than have a meeting each quarter with one group of advisory board members, why not have one every two months — and have different groups of board members for each session?

To me, that’s the best way to accommodate everyone who has generously asked to volunteer, so I’ll get to work putting together groups that will offer a nice mix of perspectives during our sessions.

Once I get those logistics sorted out, I’ll be in touch with everyone with some specific meeting dates — so stay tuned for that.

Second, the enthusiastic response shows just how deeply you readers care about The State in general and the Opinion page specifically — and the equally deep sense of investment you have in what we provide you as readers.

That’s both amazing and humbling.

I appreciate your sense of investment, and I’m committed to making sure the advisory board meetings reflect my appreciation.

Third, I’m pretty sure that my refreshment budget for the advisory board meetings is going to undergo a dramatic upward spike.

And I’m totally fine with that.

Thanks for the great response.

Other Staff

While I’m here, let’s touch on a couple more things:

In last week’s column, I also mentioned that we’re pursuing interviews with the Democratic Party candidates taking part in our state’s 2020 presidential primary.

We’ve already drawn promising responses from some of the campaigns, so hopefully we can soon nail down some candidate interviews.

While the Opinion page will not make endorsements in the Nov. 5 Columbia City Council races, we have sent questionnaires to the candidates and will post their responses as they come in.

I think the candidate responses can serve as a valuable resource in helping you decide on Election Day, so you can check them out at www.thestate.com/opinion/.

Opinion Editor Roger Brown can be reached at (803) 771-8464 or rjbrown@thestate.com. You can catch him on Twitter @RBrown_SCOpin.

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