Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 2, 2014

Neal Ronquist: Our Views — and yours — are just that

January provided me a chance to speak with two of Traverse City’s great organizations on the topic “The Future of Newspapers.”

Early in the month I was honored to have an opportunity to speak to my fellow Rotarians at the Rotary Club of Traverse City’s meeting, and on Jan. 24 it was a humbling experiencing to fulfill an invite to kick off the Economic Club of Traverse City’s 2014 slate of speakers.

I always welcome the opportunity to talk about the industry I have chosen as my career and to share the passion I - as well as the hard-working, dedicated Record-Eagle employees - have for the important work we do.

It’s also encouraging to hear of the passion our readers have for our newspaper. No matter the place, readers everywhere take ownership of their hometown newspaper. The newspaper may induce a wide-range of emotions, and that’s a good thing; it shows our readers care.

One particular newspaper section generally generates the most passion and emotion among readers, a section about which I field the most questions when I speak to groups. That is, of course, our Opinion section.

The Opinion section is the most misunderstood page in the newspaper.

Opinion pages have a number of different components. The two-page section is comprised of an editorial cartoon, which typically comes from a nationally syndicated cartoonist; Our View, which is the newspaper’s editorial and represents the collective voice of the newspaper; Your Views, which are reader-submitted letters to the editor; Forums, which are opportunities for readers to share their opinion on a subject in more depth than a letter to the editor; and Op-Eds, which typically are columnists who are nationally or state syndicated and represent a mix of both conservative and liberal viewpoints.

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