Newspaper Editorial Policies…

BACKGROUND–There is a controversy (at this time it is too soon to tell how serious) about the editorial policy of Petaluma’s local newspaper. The article below was pubished on the Petaluma 360 Blog site

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Are You Mad At The Argus Courier?

Some of you may have received a communication (generally by e-mail) advising  how to register complaints about the Argus-Courier…

“Citizens and subscribers who feel the conduct and content of the Argus Courier is biased, unprofessional, or unethical can send complaints to The New York Times Company (owner and parent company of the Argus).”

I had to step back and think about the above–and interpret it a bit.

To suggest that the “conduct and content” of the paper may be “biased, unprofessional, or unethical” is something of an overstatement. I personally do not believe it to be the case insofar as the news stories are concerned.  Therefore, I have to assume that the concern is with the editorial policy of the paper.

When it comes to the Argus editorials, I have, from time to time, been know to take a shot at them on this blog.  But at the end of the day I am merely offering my opinion against the opinion voiced in the editorial.

The larger question is whether the Argus-Courier has value to you, the reader, as a source of news.  On that point, I think it does fairly well given its limitations of being a weekly publication. That, of course, is my opinion.

Also note that as a reader there are several oppotunities to react to editorials–or news stories for that matter–that get your dander up. Of course there is the traditional letter to the editor.

However, today you can provide instant feedback by

  • Posting to the Petaluma 360 Forums
  • Posting comments to an editorial or column  
  • Posting online comments to news stories

In addition, if you are so inclined, you can set up a blog on Petaluma 360. (You too can go slightly crazy navigating the blogging system as I am doing in preparing this article)

Finally, I have also noted that  space is frequently provided in the paper for people to write their own guest columns stating their position in response to a column or editorial.

Notwithstanding the above, I do, however, have a few suggestions for management:

  • Publish your policy and practices regarding news stories and editorials, their creation and editing.
  • Consider setting up some kind of Citizen Advisory Committee to provide a regular feedback channel.
  • Sign the editorials
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