Today is a day when at least two newspapers could have (read: should have) published editorial columns on their front pages. The columns of Rob Christensen of the N&O and Allen Johnson of the News & Record compete favorably with the stories on their papers’ front pages. (I can’t find Allen’s online but it is about the downtown curfew in Greensboro.)
At a time when newspapers need to be challenging their own rules and traditions, the idea of putting editorials and editorial columns on the front page remains a non-starter. It shouldn’t. They publish bold commentary on the fronts of their sports sections, features sections and local news sections. Most newspaper editors would tell you they put their best content on the front page. But, in this case, they don’t. It’s too bad, too. Here’s more on the topic.
Other good stories from today’s front pages.
Burlington — The Times-News reports that there is a shortage of Highway Patrol officers, thanks to state budget cuts and unqualified applicants. 160 vacancies. That’s 10 percent of the entire force. Know what it means to you other than less chance you’ll get a speeding ticket? Less chance there will be law enforcement around when you need them.
Fayetteville — The Observer has a timely piece on the civil rights struggle in Fayetteville 50 years ago. I selected this one because, like Greensboro, Fayetteville avoided violence, but also because the Zimmerman verdict has evoked nationwide protests. If I read some of the conservative commentary correctly, there is this idea that there is no real racial divide in America, and if there is, it’s the fault of African Americans. So I liked this quote: “It came down to people wanting to face this new world, rather than fight it,” said C.R. Edwards, then pastor of First Baptist Church on Moore Street. “They decided it was better to talk a little bit.”
Greensboro — I can hear people now clucking over the News & Record’s story about teenagers roaming downtown at all hours. I found myself doing it, too. Fourteen-year olds out past midnight. Seventeen-year olds with no curfew. But the story explains how it’s different…and it makes some sense. A good explainer by the paper that continues to try to explain what’s happening in the center city.
Wilmington — The Star-News has a compelling story about human trafficking in the state. It’s apparently more widespread than I thought. Only 16 defendants have faced charges under North Carolina’s human trafficking statute since it was adopted seven years ago, even though the state consistently ranks among the top 10 where trafficking for labor and sex is most prevalent.