THE EARLY LEAD: A call for local and diverse opinions
By Brandon Hurley
Nostalgia can be a double-edged sword at times.
The opinion section of a newspaper used to be the place. The spot where you could find the best debate, the most outlandish ideas and a place where you could find calm.
Sadly, the Jefferson Herald opinion section is a shell of itself.
But that’s not to say it can’t return to its glory days. It’s 2022, we ALL certainly have strong feelings one way or another. Each one of us has something to say, no matter the topic.
So, here’s my challenge to our readers – let’s hear you. It’s your time to shine. We want your thoughts, no matter how logical or far-fetched they may seem. Let’s bring back the voice of the readers.
I’m a firm believer that opinions are never wrong, no matter your affiliation to a political party, a state, a city, sports team or even to a particular TV show or musical act.
That’s not to say I won’t vehemently debate your opinion if I feel so compelled, but we aren’t saying your opinion sucks.
Now, when facts are misconstrued or improperly stated, that’s when a topic is deserved of fair criticism.
I like to envision myself as a person who is in the middle, not too far in one particular direction. I can acknowledge and see good points on either side. But as a red-blooded, American human, I enjoy a good debate.
I suppose this is a long and breathy way for me to say we need to hear from YOU, our readers.
We want to hear from the ones who pay for subscriptions, who pick up a copy of the paper each week at the grocery store and the people who click on the links. We want you to be HEARD.
Social media is a fine and dandy enough place to get your thoughts out, but the distribution can often be so small and narrow. A newspaper column or editorial still has its place, usually making a significant impact.
With a smaller staff, our voices may get stale.
But let’s be real, the community still comes to us for most news. That’s not to say we are the only source for Greene County happenings, there are plenty of other outlets that do a fine job of covering the news, we aren’t oblivious or naive.
But we once again are striving to become the spot where you go to hear Uncle Bob’s thought’s or Cousin Rachel’s somewhat kooky but oddly reasonable ramblings. The Jefferson Herald is home to a few regulars from time-to-time, but that can be much greater number.
Just this past week, a wonderful woman penned a lovely letter about the Bell Tower Festival. We need more of those and less of other things.
You may see Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst in our opinion page almost every week, not because we are supporters or opposers, but because they are the two people who constantly provide us with columns.
As editor, I am open to new potential guest columnists, or even random, one-off letters to the editor. Hell, I’m sure y’all would get annoyed with me if I continue to be the only one writing columns. Which is a big reason why we love having Rick Morain continue to contribute.
With that being said, please, even challenge me to the classic Point/Counter Point newspaper schtick, where each person chooses a side of an issue and we go at it. Let’s embrace debate, let me hear what you are proud of, tell us about that time that Grandma Sherry made the greatest apple pie before little Joey dropped it on the ground.
Story-telling is the true anchor of a newspaper, and while it has dwindled over the years, the words continue to inform.
America is still home to a free press, and now more than ever is when we should take advantage. Zuckerberg and Musk don’t need us, don’t let them bully you. Type your words and send them to a local publishing company that cares. We aren’t the bad guys, Rob Strabley and I (the designer of the Jefferson Bee and Herald) are here for you. We don’t have an agenda, we won’t turn you away. We will listen, but that doesn’t mean we won’t speak up when provoked.
A natural discourse is good for humanity. So if you have something to say please, feel free to send it my way.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 515-386-4161.
All that I require for a letter to the editor is to include your actual name, your city of residence and a phone number (The number won’t be published, but the name and city will).
That’s it. No credit card number, no date of birth, no dental or medical records. No 15-question survey and background check. It’s a simple and clean process.
Of course, we do not edit letters to the editor, unless there is blatant hate speech or unnecessary vulgarity.
Let it fly.
And if you have a pitch to become a regular guest columnist, while we can’t offer you bread, the prestige of getting published in an award-winning newspaper should be incentive enough.
Let’s diversify our opinion section together, shall we?