The phone calls and emails roll in every so often. Readers want to complain about the opinion pages.
They are too liberal!
They are too conservative!
I can't stand that columnist!
Cancel my paper!
Yes, even though it may shock some of you, I receive complaints about the pages leaning both far-left and far-right. It may be more surprising for some of you to learn that if you're reading the opinion pages at all, you're in the minority.
Research and our online analytics show that the editorials and nationally syndicated columns and cartoons are among the newspaper's least read content.
So we are making some significant changes.
Beginning this week, opinion content will appear in print only two days – Wednesday and Sundays. There will be no opinion pages Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. The space once occupied by opinion on those days will be replaced with national and international news on Wednesdays in the A section, and with local and state news on Sundays in the Stark & Ohio section.
If you are a regular reader of these pages, you likely noticed that about a year ago we started featuring locally written guest essays each Sunday. There have been some educational and inspiring stories.
Business owner Bob DeHoff stated the case for the Akron-Canton Metroplex. Foster child Cory Walters wrote about what it's like to wait to be adopted. Mom Morgan Michel shared about how the Plain Local community has rallied around her son Blake, who is battling cancer. Malone University Department of Education Chair Jennifer Webb discussed the teacher shortage, calling it a national concern. And Ralph Lee discussed how the American Heart Association's Stark Heart Walk saved his life.
We want to share more of those local voices and stories. We need fewer divisive political columns – ones that blur the lines between objective reporting and opinion.
So if you would like to write a featured essay for the opinion page, please reach out. We are always looking for locally written columns. My contact information is below.
We also will work with our sister newspapers across Ohio, including the Akron Beacon Journal, Columbus Dispatch and Cincinnati Enquirer, to share thoughtful editorials and columns on statewide topics.
Another change involves the political cartoons. We have contracted with Stark County cartoonist Jerry King to produce an editorial cartoon each Sunday for the Repository that will focus on state and local issues. We hope that you enjoy his sense of humor.
Two things won't change.
Canton Repository staff writer and editorial board member Charita Goshay, who grew up in Canton's Crystal Park neighborhood, will continue to write columns each week, often providing her take on local issues. She enjoys sharing her sensibility with you.
"I'm honored to be a journalist because the truth is the only thing that matters," she wrote earlier this year. "It's the only thing that endures."
Local letters to the editor also will continue to be accepted and published, although we are tightening our standards. We not only fact check letters, but we also ask that readers refrain from attacking and dehumanizing others.
We receive too many letters that include insults and use divisive language. Respectfully shared opinions are welcome on all topics. Insults and attacks are not.
Our goal is to provide thoughtful, local opinion content.
As always, feel free to reach out with your feedback. I welcome constructive criticism, story tips and suggestions.
Rick Armon, who believes there's too much anger and not enough civility in the world, is the managing editor of the Canton Repository and Massillon Independent. He can be reached at 330-580-8310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Canton Repository, Massillon Independent changing opinion pages