Opinion page a place for spirited debate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2008

Each day this newspaper publishes an Opinion page, a column will occupy this space with ideas that range from political points of view, to social topics to arbitrary thoughts on a person or event.

To the left of this space is the newspaper’s editorial, which is the newspaper’s stand on an issue of local, state, national or international importance.

Below this space is the editorial cartoon, which is an artist’s form of political commentary. And below that are the letters to the editor or guest columns, which are readers’ opinions on various topics.

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Our industry, in a way to make our products more reader-friendly, is showing more transparency in how it operates. We believe it is important for readers to be informed on why we do some of the things we do.

And, for me, the editorial page is a good place to start. I love editorial pages.

To me, they are the heart and soul of any newspaper. They give readers a glimpse into the character of a newspaper, the character of its company and the character of the people who work for it.

One of the reasons I love The Ironton Tribune is because we do our best to make the the editorial page bold. We do not back away from controversial topics that are of interest to the community and the criticism that can accompany them, yet we’re quick to pat someone on the back if they’re deserving of praise.

Too much of one and not enough of the other makes for a weak editorial page and, in my opinion, a weak newspaper. A healthy balance of criticism and praise is necessary for a newspaper to maintain its credibility.

Beyond that, though, a newspaper’s editorial page should be a snapshot of the ideas and beliefs of the community it serves.

The editorial board consists of Publisher Mike Caldwell and me. Yet, the opinions that appear on this page can certainly differ from our points of view. The editorial page should be a marketplace of ideas, ranging from one extreme to the other.

The columnists and other authors who appear here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or The Ironton Tribune staff. Some of Jim Crawford’s opinions sometimes lean a little too far to the left for my taste. Some of Joseph Benning’s opinions are sometimes a little too far to the right for me. In fact, I disagree with many items that appear on this page.

But that’s OK.

Our hope on this page is that readers believe they are invited to participate. I’ve seen more than one letter to the editor have an immediate impact.

As long as they stay within the guidelines and contain verifiable information, they will appear here. We want them to appear here because it creates a lively editorial page, which is a staple for any newspaper worth its salt.

So whether you agree with my opinions, Caldwell’s opinions, or the opinions of any author, cartoonist or letter writer on this page is irrelevant.

You can still make your voice heard and that is the most important thing.

Don’t hesitate to join the conversation.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at rick.greene@irontontribune.com.