One of the great things about visiting other Wick newsrooms is harvesting ideas that can improve my own home newspaper. The truth is that I learn as much from the dedicated employees at our newspapers as they learn from me.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being at the Montrose Daily Press. There are many great things about the Daily Press, and one of them is a strong tradition of weighty, important, community-shaping opinion pages. The newspaper employs a well-maintained editorial board system that assures feedback and that other voices are given their due in the Daily Press. In the past it has even invited prolific letter writers in for a summit of sorts – a way to recognize the contributions and encourage more.
And the walls of the building are adorned with award-worthy photographs and some page layouts that stand the test of time. Above is one set of those layouts.
As you can see they are opinion pages, but opinion pages unlike I’ve ever seen elsewhere at our papers. They focus on a single theme – the costs of war, the history of walls separating peoples, the struggle for the vote. They aren’t intrinsically or solely local, which is a little different, but they concern issues that are crucial to our democracy. And they are filled with compelling art. (Art is a constant challenge for all opinion pages. I very much encourage you to use photographs like these to illustrate a point.) …
There are probably many, many such intriguing topics you could tackle this way. It’s a great way to fill the page on an anniversary – like the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is a great way to fill a page when you have little else that is local or compelling. And it’s a great way to encourage others to write in in response.
I’m taking this and other ideas home with me from Colorado. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.