When I came to the Spirit just over two years ago, one of my first changes involved our editorial section, the pair of facing, ad-free pages inside the A section.
This is where we display our newspaper’s official viewpoint on the important issues of the day along with editorial cartoons, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces from our regular contributors and guest columnists. We also feature “Worth noting,” where we highlight sometimes timely, always interesting tidbits from books or other published works (hunting down these excerpts is my favorite thing to do each week — don’t tell anybody!).
The first page of this section, typically Page A6, is our editorial page. It’s home to our editorials, those unsigned opinion pieces that represent the newspaper’s official stance. On this page we also include “Other views,” editorials that have appeared in other papers in West Virginia that are either made available through the Associated Press news service or are shared with us in response to a specific request. We call this page the “Advocate” in a nod to the paper’s historical name, “The Spirit of Jefferson and Farmer’s Advocate,” and an idea which came to us from Hampshire Review Managing Editor Jim King, who proposed the name as part of an early redesign of the Spirit after its purchase by the See family in 2009.
The second page of the editorial section is the “op-ed” – newspaper shorthand for the page opposite the editorial page. The Spirit’s op-ed page has been called the Opinion page, but this week we debut a new name. “Perspectives,” we think, is a better fit for the elements we include here.
Every week, it’s our intention to include on this page a whole range of points of view. Unlike many newspapers today that are either reliably conservative or progressive, with a token columnist or two thrown in to represent the other side, the Spirit’s op-ed as I envision it is a home for those on the left, the right and the muddled middle, where I reside.
We believe it’s always instructive to look at vital issues from the largest available number of vantage points. By putting together an op-ed page that highlights the views of the widest possible spectrum, we believe we’re providing our readers with the best possible editorial section.
We work hard to make this section of our paper thought-provoking and lively. We hope it’s a jumping off point each week where you read viewpoints here and then engage in discussions, even debates, with yourself, with the people you live with, with your social circle, with our elected leaders and, last by not least, with us. Please consider writing a letter to the editor, whether you put together a treatise or just a quick, short email where you dash off your thoughts on something you’ve seen here.
Your perspectives matter to us. Our community functions best when we listen to one another and are able to understand not just our own impulses but how things might look from inside someone else’s shoes.
Please write to us, too, with your questions on the Spirit. Wondering why we do some of the things we do? Have suggestions on what we could be doing better? Want to make our day by pointing out something you saw in an edition and enjoyed? We’d enjoy hearing it.
As always, we thank you for picking up the Spirit.
– Robert Snyder