Best Practices: Editorial and Commentary Online Blog

March 03, 2008

Being the catalyst for an engaged society

Knight Digital Media Center
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Being the catalyst for an engaged society
Current practice - What’s being done at the participants’ papers: Results of discussion exploring the role of editorial/commentary in our democracy.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Video of political interviews

Kansas City Star
Unfettered letters: unedited comments on published letters.
-Reaction: Is this fair?

Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader
Cartoons without captions
-Let readers add captions online
-Make this a contest
-Idea of commentary by “standup” cartoonist

Wausau Daily Herald
Write the Sunday editorial on Tuesday. Then send it to a reader react board… published together in print and online on Sunday
-Issue of: lost of timeliness with doing this

The Portland Oregonian
Community Writers Project
-Asked readers to nominate themselves if they thought they wrote well
-Selected 12 out of 250…
-Asked to send resume, statement of interest, and three writing samples
-Want people to bring ideas from their community

Video profile interview

The Sacramento Bee
Blogs on specific topics (such as: California politics, global warming, water policy)
-Automated “letters” system: taking notes to editor

The Arizona Republic
Weekly Q&A: way to promote community conversation

The Des Moines Register
Presidential Candidate database: ran eight days of analysis on different points of information about Presidential Candidate race

**Question: “How do we define success?”

The Dallas Morning News
Edit bloggers; offer more specialized blogs
-Brings more traffic

The Washington Post
Widget use w/ columnists

Statesman Journal
Have found ideas from others and welcomes other Web sites to do the same.
-Edit blog transparency with comments from reader.

The Fort Meyers News-Press
Instant editorials by editorial writers; daily online editorials that are signed opposed to unsigned. This is more personalized.

-Blog that includes critics

-Use of video from editorial board guests.


The Washington Post
Transparency is an issue. It is lacking on editorial board. Unless you are a columnist, no one knows who is on editorial board. There is no interactivity between editorial board and community. Get letters and calls all the time asking who is on this board, and it is a closed, hidden process. Problem is “arrogance”. Culture of place to be “mightier than thou.” Doesn’t seem to be much interest in change
-There is outrage over the idea of video recording some daily meetings and some meetings with guests.

The Dallas Morning News
Issue with letters and presentation. Terrible presentation of letters

Unmonitored blogs

Missing opportunity to interact with people all over the world


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Michael William's photoAs the newspaper world evolves, so do the roles of the opinion section and its writers. Blogger Michael Williams explores these issues and invites you to contribute your own insight and ideas to the concepts under discussion.

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