In this edition of The Beachcomber, you’ll undoubtedly notice some things you don’t normally see.
For one, we published our Holiday Gift Guide, an annual special section containing articles from our hard-working staff meant to kick off the holiday season. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together.
But for the sake of this editorial, I’d like to turn your attention to the contents of these Opinion pages. They include commentaries from two members of the newsroom, Paul Rowley and Kate Dowling.
Paul has written a thoughtful piece on community journalism, which is an important topic to address not just during the holidays, but any day of the year. Meanwhile, Kate chose to write about the differences between Thanksgiving in America and Canada, owing to the fact that she is a native of our neighbors to the north. Pretty cool, eh?
It should also be noted that Liz Shepherd, The Beachcomber’s arts editor, wrote in first-person recently, too, when she penned a review of “She Kills Monsters” at Open Space for Arts & Community.
And, not surprisingly, every once in a while, this editor of The Beachcomber will attach his name to the left-hand rail of page 6 to speak in the first person, too.
As reporters, we’re all trained to keep our voices, including our opinions, out of our copy when we’re writing news stories. But who says we can’t offer a little observation here and there from our life experiences or the things we encounter in our community? That’s why, as editor, I welcome Kate and Paul’s commentaries.
The idea of writing commentaries while being a journalist is not new to me. As a staff writer at my last employer, The Herald Journal in Logan, Utah, the managing editor would have newsroom staff write columns he dubbed “Staffers’ Corner.” My boss was pretty firm, though, that the topics we chose to write about would not have to do with current affairs, particularly politics. I thought that was a pretty good rule of thumb, and I enjoyed writing these columns whenever I saw fit.
One of my favorite columns was published earlier this year in Utah when I wrote about a neurological condition — which I believe I have — in which people see colors and patterns in their minds as they listen to music. My final column in Utah was about my move to Vashon-Maury Island (I mistakenly referred to it as two islands, not one. Can you forgive me?).
As editor, I have not instituted a formal series of commentaries by the newsroom staff. I’d just say that they’re welcome to write one every so often if they choose. Quite honestly, I think our readers would get a little something out of it — for one thing, that there are actual faces behind the bylines you see weekly in the newspaper!
So keep watching these Opinion pages. In the meantime, have a happy Thanksgiving and get a stuffed start to your holiday season!
— Kevin Opsahl