At McClatchy, Opinion is local, thoughtful and moving at the speed of news
On Jan. 6, as insurgents occupied the U.S. Capitol, editorial board members across McClatchy markets did something that might have been unusual for editorial boards in another era:
We started writing — urgently, thoughtfully and powerfully.
Within a few hours, we published editorials from California to Missouri to Florida and elsewhere that not only rose to the moment with strong voices, but held local representatives to account for the day’s events.
That’s part of our DNA now across McClatchy’s opinion teams, thanks to the leadership of McClatchy Opinion Editor Colleen Nelson. I’m proud this week to succeed Colleen, who was named Executive Editor of the Sacramento Bee and Regional Editor for McClatchy’s California news outlets.
Readers will see many of the same things from our opinion pages moving forward. We’ll focus our content on local and state issues. We’ll report before we write, and we’ll move at the speed of news. We see our columns and editorials not as opinion writing, but opinion journalism.
It’s also important to us that our opinion teams reflect all of our communities. This month, editorial boards in Wichita, Fort Worth and North Carolina joined Miami in launching Community Advisory Boards of three to four members who will broaden our insight and bring diverse voices to the conversations we have about issues and topics. By the end of the year, all of our opinion teams will have advisory boards.
(BTW — we’re growing in other ways, too. Keep an eye on McClatchy’s jobs page.)
In 2021, you’ll also see our opinion journalism reach deeper into local issues, with editorials and series that pursue five guiding principles developed by opinion editors and writers across McClatchy:
- We will advocate for social justice, fairness in economic and educational opportunities and an end to systemic racism and inequality.
- We will lead the conversation in our communities as we emerge from the pandemic and begin to rebuild, laying out a roadmap for jumpstarting local economies and promoting economic growth that benefits all.
- We will examine the growing rural-urban divide, investigating the policy and cultural implications of the chasm that’s creating two different Americas while seeking solutions to bridge that gap.
- We will advocate for police reform measures that address racial and economic inequities as well underlying societal issues; we will place a priority on transparency and accountability in law enforcement while highlighting effective policing.
- We will champion good government and democratic ideals, advocating for transparency.
These principles are meaningful to us because they’re meaningful to our communities. We’re guided by them, not by loyalty to any political party, and we believe our Opinion pages are a place where our voices can join those of leaders and readers in making our communities better. I hope you join us.
Peter St. Onge is McClatchy Opinion Editor/North Carolina Opinion Editor. Follow him on Twitter @saintorange