Yesterday, Andria Krewson and I had a good email exchange about Amendment One, newspapers, editorial pages and the influence of written opinion. She writes about her findings this afternoon in CJR. As usual, Andria does an excellent job researching and analyzing N.C. journalism. (Full disclosure: she quotes me.)
Among the things I told her was my fear that newspapers, including editorial pages, were quickly losing their influence and impact (which I wrote about here and here). I have no research on how a town’s newspaper editorial position correlates with the area’s vote on Amendment One. It would be an interesting study for some journalism student.
Editorial pages are a destination in newspapers. Strong, fist-pounding opinions are a must. (What is there to lose?) So is using every tool at their disposal to engage the community. (Video, anyone?) I know how hard it is when you don’t have enough people or technology. Times of desperation — that’s where we are, isn’t it? — require focusing on your fundamental values. Strong community leadership provided by the voice of the editorial page should be a fundamental value of every newspaper. That means, provide appropriate resources to make it a treasured, nourishing destination.