MT Editorial Board wants you

Ever wonder how the Mail Tribune arrives at its editorial positions? Now’s your chance to peek behind the curtain, and even join us as we discuss the issues we plan to comment on and what we plan to say.

The Mail Tribune Editorial Board is creating an advisory group made up of readers who keep abreast of the news and are interested in state and local issues. We are seeking applications from people who would be interested in meeting once a month to discuss issues, review our opinion pages and offer constructive criticism.

We want to hear ideas for topics the group thinks we should address in editorials and suggestions on how we can improve our opinion pages.

In addition to giving us advice and criticism, the advisory group will select one or more of its members to attend our weekly editorial board meeting on Mondays, participate in our discussions and help us determine our positions on the issues we will write about for the coming week.

At this point, we envision a six-month term for advisory board members, with the editorial board representatives rotating for shorter periods. The precise details will be worked out after we’ve selected the advisory board and the members have had a chance to meet.

That kind of people are we looking for?

We want interested, well-read people who can discuss a wide range of issues while respecting differing points of view. People who just want to rant or to push a single issue won’t fit in well. I should also note that Mail Tribune editorials focus almost exclusively on local and state issues, so folks who want to debate the U.S. role in Iraq or the future of global trade may find themselves a bit bored.

We want a range of viewpoints from liberal to conservative and all shades in between.

We don’t want people currently serving in public office, running for public office or working on someone else’s campaign. Former officeholders are welcome to apply, but won’t necessarily be given preference.

Most important, we want people who can commit to attend one monthly meeting and who would be available periodically to attend our weekly meeting during the work day.

What do we offer in return?

Sorry, we can’t pay. What we can offer is the chance to discuss public policy issues with other well-informed citizens, and the opportunity to contribute to the Mail Tribune’s editorial voice.

If that sounds attractive, send me an e-mail to gnelson@mailtribune.com. Describe your educational background, your profession, how long you’ve lived in the area and why you came to live here. Tell us how you would describe yourself politically, what issues are of particular concern to you and why you think you would make a valuable contribution to the advisory group.

The Editorial Board, made up of myself, Mail Tribune Editor Bob Hunter, Publisher Grady Singletary, Online Editor Julie Wurth and former Editor John Reid, will review the applications and may schedule personal interviews before selecting the advisory board members.

So, if you have always wondered how we arrive at our editorial positions and feel you can contribute to that process, we want to hear from you.

Gary E. Nelson is the Mail Tribune’s editorial page editor. E-mail him at gnelson@mailtribune.com.

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