Opinion pages are community forum

Editor's Desk

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These pages each week are meant to be read with consistency.
Consider a table of contents: News stories will be on the front and additional pages inside the section. Sports will be on the back cover.
Arts & Entertainment information, features and the community calendar will be in the B section along with classifieds and legal notices. That’s also where you’ll find the ever-popular crossword and sudoku puzzles. We hear from you if they’re missing or incorrect. We love the community passion and expectation for the puzzles to be there, and it’s a priority to get it right.
We have local advertising throughout both sections, and it’s because of that business support that we continue to be a locally owned and operated newspaper, an important distinction from others.
But what about opinion? What should you expect to find here?
Our goal is to have it reflect community conversation through many different voices, from letters and columns to information directly from clubs and organizations proud of their accomplishments and upcoming events.

Letters
The lifeblood of an opinion page, letters to the editor are meant to reflect wide-ranging thoughts on topics of the day. They are limited to 300 words for the purpose of including more voices in the paper, and it often helps writers be concise.
We don’t give preference to which side of the political aisle writers align themselves. Our goal each week is to balance perspectives based on letters received.
However, we do have a general policy: Letters need to focus on issues, not personalities, and avoid name calling or unsubstantiated allegations. Priority always is given to letters on local issues from writers who live in Jefferson County.

Columnists
Ned Luce of Port Ludlow and Bill Mann of Port Townsend have been writing personal commentary pieces on these pages. Luce focuses on the people and events of his hometown each week, and Mann provides a little humor bi-weekly.
I’d love to include a columnist from the Tri-Area or Quilcene who is interested in sharing hometown news. Ideally the topics would be outside of the scope of events the newspaper normally covers.
If you are interested or know someone who might be, email me at editor@ptleader.com.

Community organizations
We often receive requests for news coverage from service clubs, organizations and departments from city or county government. When we assign a reporter, those stories appear on one of our news pages.
Sometimes it’s useful receive news releases from these groups. In those cases, we can’t present the information as “news” because it’s presented from the organization’s point of view and typically doesn’t include other sources. But such information helps us publicize projects and services that benefit the community but which we might not be able to cover with our reporting resources.
Some examples from the past several months include the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, the history of Fort Worden, the Jefferson Land Trust, Local 20/20, and Books and Beyond, the last of which is written by managers at the city and county library systems.
The opinion pages are the most appropriate location to highlight events, achievements and ongoing community initiatives.
If you belong to an organization and you would be interested in sharing your story on a regular basis, let’s set up a meeting to discuss the idea.
It never hurts to ask.

Brian McLean is the managing editor of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader. He can be reached at 360-385-2900, ext. 109, or by email at editor@ptleader.com.

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