Wick Communications

The power of local editorials

In Editorial pages on December 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm

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So you think your local editorials don’t make a difference? Clearly, you do not live in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

On Dec. 3, Sierra Vista Herald Editor Eric Petermann penned an editorial condemning the Tombstone School Board’s decision to call a special meeting for the purpose of giving the district’s superintendent a long-term contract. The kicker here is that the school board includes a pair of folks who had been voted out of office the month before.

Eric explained the problem succinctly in the last paragraph of his editorial:

When we put all those pieces together — a special meeting that was barely given public notice with an agenda that seeks action on a long-term contract and does not include public comment — the picture is an ugly representation of bad government.

The very next day, the school board tabled the matter. Here’s what the newspaper was able to report in the aftermath:

“I think the pressure from the community because of previous newspaper articles and the column by Sierra Vista Herald Editor Eric Petermann had a lot to do with the outcome of the meeting,” said board member Mike Hayhurst, who has been an outspoken opponent of the special session. “The column was very well written and a lot of people agreed with what he had to say.

“Along with that, a lot of people were relieved by the outcome of the meeting.” …

Good guys 1, forces of obfuscation 0.

It’s all in a day’s work for Eric, who writes meaty, local opinion pieces every day. Quite frankly, nothing we do is more important than that. We have a unique opportunity to lead our communities. If we don’t take it we are abdicating our responsibility, diluting our efficacy and letting our readers down.

If you are a Wick editor, and you are not writing a local editorial every chance you get,  you are simply not doing your duty. And another thing: those “thank you, chamber, for the street fair” kinds of nonsense fluff things don’t count. I’ve been known to write soft things like that, too. I’m not judging. I’m simply noting that we should all strive to give readers the leadership they deserve.

Clay

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