Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is there an editor in the house?

I was skeptical about the Journal Sentinel's idea to have a bunch of "community columnists" writing for the newspaper's op ed page. It's hard to say exactly what it was. Maybe it seems like tokenism of a sort. Allowing a few "regular people" to write columns, and others to serve on an editorial advisory board, are intended to give the false impression that this is somehow the people's newspaper. It clearly is not; it's just one piece of a big corporation that dominates the Milwaukee media market.

Many of the community columnists have been a pleasant surprise. They write about things the newspaper's editorial board normally would ignore, and come at the issues from a different perspective.

But today's column by Kurt Spielmann, about Milwaukee needing something -- he has no idea what -- to attract "guests" is simply embarrassing. A sample:

If we had some guests, people'd have to treat you a little nicer. Maybe you're a guest. And yeah, there'd still be some who knew you and treated you mean, but you could be proud of them. For the sake of the guests.

"Hey," you'd say with a wink and a shrug, "that's just Milwaukee being Milwaukee."

If we had some guests, we'd have someone to get sick of besides each other.
What we really need are some standards for guest columnists. And maybe an editor.


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Terrence Berres said...

Or maybe save the newsprint for the reporters and columnists and open up their web site to reader comment.


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