Teresa Hislop remembers her first meeting very well a year ago as the at-large member of the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board.
The board had a major decision to make on whether or not to endorse the Weber County library bond.
Teresa, an Ogden educator, literally walked into a lion's den.
"It was a pivotal moment for me. I had to decide, on the very first issue, whether I was going to be an independent voice or a rubber stamp," she said. "I decided to speak my voice, which meant that I voted in favor of the library bond even though everyone else on the board voted against it."
Ultimately, voters agreed with Teresa and the bond passed despite the newspaper's editorial opposing it.
After her initiation under fire, Teresa found her one-year term on the board exciting and rewarding.
"From the very first day I felt like a respected and valued member of the team," she said. "Never did I feel any distinction between newspaper employees and myself. Fabulous."
The editorial board is the entity which comes up with the newspaper's positions for its editorials. It also interviews candidates for political office and makes endorsements, listens to pitches from groups seeking editorial support, and even presents story ideas for the newsroom. Each year we rotate in new members for the board, which is mostly composed of Standard-Examiner employees. The permanent members of the board are Publisher Charles Horton III, Opinion Editor Doug Gibson and myself. Other members came from different departments at the newspaper. Teresa was the first community member we've ever had on the board. She was such an integral part of the process, that we have decided to expand the at-large membership to two. One slot will be a community leader we will ask to be on the board, and the other will be someone who applies, like Teresa did last year.
For the recruited member, we are excited that Alan E. Hall, local investor and serial entrepreneur, has agreed to be on the 2014 board. Replacing Teresa I will again ask members of the community to apply. If you are interested, simply send me an email, or drop a letter off at our offices in Business Depot Ogden, outlining your credentials and why you would want to serve on the Standard-Examiner's Editorial Board. The deadline for applications will be March 3.
To better accommodate the at-large members, we have moved our meeting times back. For 2014 we will meet every Monday at 5 p.m. The meetings generally last about an hour. Each member is expected to bring ideas and positions to pitch. Then the others around the table will debate what position to take. It is pretty informal. A position is taken for an editorial when a consensus is reached by the board. Sometimes we will take a vote, especially when it involves an endorsement.
Teresa said the free-flowing exchange of ideas was what she liked most about being on the board.
"Hearing opposing views made me re-examine my own ideas. Sometimes my ideas changed as a result of the interaction and sometimes they did not," she said. "The value of the exercise, for me, was the process of scrutinizing my opinions, not necessarily the outcome of the scrutiny."
Teresa feels she made significant contributions to the board. Two instances stand out.
" The first was when I insisted that North Davis Preparatory Academy's presentation of a play where students' faces were darkened was not racially discriminatory in any way and that accusing them of being racially insensitive was wrong as well as short sighted," she said.
" The second was when I proposed that we publish an editorial assuring Utahns that we need not angst too much about the gay marriage issue, that as a state we had experienced a similar situation earlier in our history and everything had turned out OK..."
We, too feel Teresa made significant contributions. In fact, she will be a tough act to follow. Do you think you are up to it?
Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.