A newspaper’s opinion pages are one of the treasured hallmarks of a democracy, a modern-day town square where we can share our points of view respectfully and have thoughtful debate and discussion. Everyone has an opinion on just about anything. Our readers are no different.
But in these polarizing times, when opinions can be shouted into echo chambers, the dialogue can be mean-spirited and unproductive.
We’d like to elevate the conversation. In that spirit, in the coming days you will see changes in our Opinion pages intended to lose the divisive tone and focus on solutions and ideas that advance the conversation.
National news and politics is always of keen interest, of course, particularly when the impact hits close to home. But we will put a premium on local and state issues you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll also see more guest columns from local and state experts on key topics, and we’ll invite you to weigh in with letters on timely, relevant issues. Again, the emphasis is on advancing the conversation; it’s fine to vent about areas that need attention or change, but be sure to bring ideas on how to fix them. As always we ask that you refrain from rants and finger-pointing. Those letters won’t get published. You can find our guidelines for submitting letters here:
You’ll see other changes aimed at improving the quality of our opinion columns and letters, emphasizing local issues and voices over national politics. Starting this week, the Statesman’s Opinion section will appear in print on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Our Sunday section will grow to three pages, Letters to the editor won’t appear on weekdays, but in an expanded space on Sundays.
Also starting this week, syndicated cartoons and columnists like Eugene Robinson, Kathleen Parker and Marc Thiessen will be going away in favor of more local and state guest columnists with expertise in their fields. We will seek out the perspectives of writers who are closest to a particular situation or topic through their work or field of study. We strive to be a trusted source of information, and we believe the perspectives of local and state experts can help us fulfill that mission.
As always we appreciate your readership, particularly in these deeply divided times. The editorial board takes it responsibility seriously to provide you with a “town square” that honors thoughtful and respectful debate as well as engagement with readers on the issues that mean the most to them.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Editorial: Elevating the conversation and emphasizing local issues and voices