Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Suggestions For My Favorite Local Newspaper

 Actually, the DNR is our area's only daily newspaper. But unlike some of my friends who no longer subscribe because of this Byrd-family-owned paper's editorial slant, I look forward to scanning the paper every morning. I not only check the headlines, letters to the editor, obituaries and other news features of community interest, but take time to check out the day's editorials and opinion columnists.

And I do appreciate the fact that even though the editors clearly don't share all of my views, they have always been willing to publish my occasional letters and op-ed pieces as well as those of local and national writers with diverse opinions. In my personal conversations with both the managing editor and the editorial page editor I have always been treated with the utmost respect.

For what it's worth, here are some of my suggestions for helping them get some of their former readers back:

1. Tone down the partisan rhetoric in your editorials. Every politician and political party represents a mix of both good and bad, and even people with whom we disagree occasionally deserve notice for things they do right. Constantly bashing Obama and demonizing Democrats feels neither fair nor balanced.

2. Do more editorials of local concern (about our schools, roads, social services and regional jail, for example), as well as highlight the good accomplishments of area individuals and organizations.

3. Add to the balance of columnists featured on the editorial page. Your newest addition, Patrick Buchanan, in his book, “Suicide of a Superpower”, concerns me in the open way he questions whether “the demographic change of the United States from a predominantly white, culturally European country to one in which whites are a minority, and multiculturalism rules, is a good idea.” I hope you agree that our being a good country has nothing to do with ethnicity or skin color. I also note with interest that Terence Jeffrey, another new columnist, was Buchanan's former campaign manager.

4. Give us the full story. Your editorial and other extensive coverage about the many good accomplishments of the late Harry F. Byrd, Jr. included only this mention, in the 28-page supplement devoted to him, about his role in opposing desegregation and civil rights legislation: “Throughout the agonizing times of the 1950’s Harry Jr. said little but stood firmly with his father on Massive Resistance, a policy of opposing school desegregation.”

All that said, I will likely continue to be a loyal subscriber to a paper that I find a little like the contrarian uncle you often find annoying but would genuinely miss if he weren't at the family reunion.
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