One of the more interesting places for me in the newsroom is an unassuming bulletin board.
That’s where we place hard-copy correspondence from our readers. Some of it is printed out from electronic communications that come to various staffers. But a surprising amount still arrives in the office as hard copy, some typed, some handwritten.
Many are complaints or objections to content, some are thanks for stories. All go up on the board for staffers to see, good and bad.
They’re all interesting in their own way and provide a good insight into our readers, their interests and concerns.
But there is one narrow category of correspondence that most intrigues me, generally evoking a reaction that I classify as somewhere between amused and mildly irritated.
Those are the ones that complain about bias on the paper’s opinion page, specifically that both sides of an issue aren’t presented in an editorial, column or letter to the editor.
So I’m going to pull the curtain back on the editorial page here: Yes, opinion pieces are one-sided.
They are, after all, offered to support one side or another of a particular issue.
An editorial, for example, endorsing Mitt Romney for president is unlikely to extol the positive virtues of President Barack Obama.
The same holds true for letters and opinion columns. They all present a point of view, an argument if you will, of why a specific belief or position is the correct one.
And if your opinion doesn’t agree with ones expressed on the page, that, I guess, can be seen as bias.
But it also means that you’re free, even encouraged, to write your own letter or column expressing your viewpoint on the issue that grabbed your attention.
Just realize that somebody out there is likely to take the fact that we printed your point of view and didn’t include theirs as evidence of, you know, bias.
HOLIDAY FIRST: A Christmas greeting card arrived in the newsroom this week from the Roy Police Department.
The card was a collage of six photos of Roy police personnel and activities. The “first” wasn’t the card itself, but rather one of the photo images: This one showed Standard-Examiner columnist/reporter Charlie Trentelman.
Charlie was a participant in an April training session in police tactics the department sponsored for the media and other civilians. The Christmas card photo came from that training session.
Charlie had just one comment when he saw the card: He wanted me to be sure to point out that he is not the officer pictured eating a doughnut.
And yes, the card went up for all to see.
Dave Greiling is managing editor of the Standard-Examiner. He may be reached at 801-625-4224 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.