Why it’s called ‘opinion’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When people ask me what I think about something – say, for example, “Should the county refinance its debt?” – I jokingly tell people that I get paid to express my opinions only on Wednesdays.

Faithful readers of The Star-News know that this column appears on yes, Wednesdays, on Page 4 of this newspaper. Referred to as the “editorial page” in the business, staffers try to present a well-rounded view of topics and issues at hand. There also is an editorial page printed in the Saturday edition.

Now, here’s where I need to explain a few things about an editorial page. Remember when I jokingly said I get paid to express my opinions only on Wednesday? Well, that’s because my column is what is called an opinion piece. My remark about my column is an easy way to explain to people that my opinions are my own and should no way be viewed as The Star-News’ opinion. That’s why my picture is at the top, too.

Editorials, which are printed on the left side of this page, are the expressed views of this newspaper. This is the place where the staff calls politicians on the carpet, gives kudos for a job well done or expresses the newspaper’s position on other topics.

Letters to the editor are submitted by readers for a variety of reasons. It could be the reader doesn’t like my column about my children’s escapades or maybe they took exception to “Our View” that the county commission should’ve given out those bingo rules before trying to adopt them several years back. A letter to the editor is a reader’s opportunity to tell the community their feelings about what’s happening.

In recent weeks, readers have been fired up about opinion pieces and letters to the editor printed on this page about the subject of homosexuality and gay marriages.

“How shocking that a small town Alabama newspaper would print such,” readers and even Facebook posters exclaimed.

Ready for another shocker?

We love to shock you – in print. Not on Facebook.

And, in turn, we want you to tell us just how much we shocked you, disappointed you, uplifted you or whatever the case maybe. We especially love it when it’s in print, in the form of a letter to the editor. Don’t want to put it in writing, that’s OK. Stop us in the grocery store or shoot us an email.

I can tell you we won’t start that kind of discussion on Facebook.

As a newspaper staff, it is our job to give readers a fair, balanced – and sometimes entertaining – overview of what’s happening in our communities. Take a look at these pages and notice that great thought went into giving our readers the best news product we could make.

Agree or disagree, it’s your opinion. Today’s Wednesday, so this one is mine.