Editor’s Column: Boundaries

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I got my American patriots confused last week when I attributed “Common Sense” to Patrick Henry instead of his fellow revolutionary Thomas Paine (thank you, Frank, for the alert!). While Paine is remembered for his “Common Sense” essay, Henry is perhaps best known for his fiery “give me liberty, or give me death” speech. Paine (who wrote “Common Sense”), Henry and Samuel Adams were peers. I hope my Revolutionary-era ancestors (and our readers who noticed) will forgive my lapse.

Speaking of local politics… We’ll be hosting a candidate forum for the folks running for Meeker’s board of trustees and the mayoral office tomorrow (Friday, March 13) at the Meeker Public Library at 6 p.m. If you’re a Meeker voter, come out and meet the candidates.

I sincerely hope all y’all go to work every day and know exactly what you’re doing and execute that knowledge perfectly. I hope you never have the opportunity to look back on a decision—personal or professional—and say, “Well, that was dumb.”

We’ve been operating under a loose editorial policy for a long time. Part of our role is to give our local readers space to share their points of view, either in letters to the editor or as guest posts. For the most part, that has worked well, but the last month has tested my patience.

If I tell someone we’ll run something, I try to keep my word, even when their submission is thousands of words longer than I suggested or anticipated, or when they notify us halfway through their freebie opinion series they’re canceling their advertising.

That said, the proliferation of opinions has forced us to tighten up our editorial policy. In the future, we will be limiting word count (and enforcing it) and restricting who gets a “guest post” header. Why? 1) We pay for print space. This week, for example, we don’t have enough advertising to justify another four pages of print (page counts go up in increments of four) so two of our opinion pieces this week are in print as excerpts, with the full content available online. If you want more space for your opinion than the word count we set, you’re more than welcome to pay for an ad. 2) If you can’t stuff your opinion/argument/position into the prescribed word count, your argument may be weaker than you want to admit, or at least unsuitable for this format.

And so, for all of you who have endured the last few weeks of dueling keyboards, rest assured, the HT is not doomed to become a giant opinion piece (you know, like 99 percent of social media.)

We’re setting some boundaries.

By Niki Turner | editor@ht1885.com