Jayne: 52 Sundays: Chance to write about what’s important

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Editor



I promise, there won’t be any mention about how time flies when you’re having fun.

Sure, it has been a year since I became Opinion editor at The Columbian after 13 years as Sports editor. And, yes, it has gone by quickly. But to invoke the “time flies” mantra would be cliché … and trite … and maybe even gauche.

Anyway, as of Tuesday, I will have spent exactly one year in this position at the paper. I suppose it is appropriate that the anniversary falls on election day (public service announcement: turn in your ballots), considering that much of this job revolves around elections and politics and politicians. I have spent a good portion of the past year meeting with governors (well, one) and United States senators (well, one) and U.S. representatives (well, less than two).

I also have sat down with plenty of state representatives and state senators and local officials, which, in a way, is far more important. To a large extent, those people have more impact on our daily lives than the ones who work in Washington, D.C. And from the start, that has been the goal — to assist readers in making decisions that impact their daily lives and the daily function of our communities.

Because of that, I’m never really sure about what to even call my job. Technically, I am The Columbian’s Editorial Page editor — I think. But I typically just say “Opinion editor,” because, frankly, it’s shorter. Of course, that led Gov. Jay Inslee to say, upon my introduction, “Opinion editor? Hmmm, it’s good to have opinions.” He’s a good man that governor. You might disagree with some of his politics — and we often do in our editorials — but in person he exudes leadership and he’s thoughtful — and he can take command of a room.

Anyway, the daily nuts and bolts of this job is writing The Columbian’s In Our View editorial, which reflects the opinion of the paper’s five-person Editorial Board. We weigh in on topics both local and national and, infrequently, global — and in the past 365 days I have written roughly 360 of those editorials with input from the board.

Ideally, we have provided some information and insight that have helped readers form their own opinions, whether or not they agree with ours.

But if the daily editorials are the cake portion of this job, my weekly column is the frosting. By my count, this is the 52nd Sunday column I have written, and I like to think they have touched upon a variety of topics and have inspired readers to think a little. Certainly, the online comments suggest that is the case. It is quite rewarding to write a column that generates 100 or so comments, be it about immigration, gay marriage or the separation of church and state.

Good fodder for columns

And then there are the Clark County commissioners. In the wake of the demise of the Columbia River Crossing, which was a veritable vein of gold for a columnist, nothing generates as much feedback as our local county government.

Of course, there have been missed opportunities. Like this past week when one of our reporters failed to inform me that the TV show “Portlandia” was filming in Vancouver. It’s not that “Portlandia” is ideal column fodder, but the presence of Carrie Brownstein in Vancouver could have led to a three-part series of fan-boy worship about her former band, Sleater-Kinney. On second thought, it’s probably best that I didn’t know.

Yet I digress. Because the important thing about this job is that I get to write about important things. That we get to talk about the issues of the day. That we play a role in the vital discussions that are taking place in Vancouver and beyond. This is a great place to live, and while our readers might disagree with me or with the paper’s Editorial Board, I am confident we all share a desire to improve our community.

So, yes, one year has passed. As they say, er, time moves swiftly when, um, you are enjoying yourself.

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