Sunday, September 19, 2021
Sept. 19, 2021

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From the Newsroom: Check out Monday’s op-ed page

By , Columbian Editor
Published:

We’ve added something new for readers of our Monday ePaper: An op-ed page.

For those of you who don’t speak newspaper lingo, the op-ed page is the page opposite the editorial page offering additional opinions and political cartoons. For decades we’ve published an op-ed page on Sundays, but not on weekdays.

The digital format of our ePaper allows us to add extra pages at very little cost, and Editorial Page Editor Greg Jayne wanted to take advantage of it. He receives a lot more opinion content than we can possibly use. We have space for one column on weekdays, and four more on Sunday’s op-ed page. But there is a lot more that we would like to present to our readers.

Before we started our Monday ePaper, Greg would pull a few opinion columns to be posted on Mondays on our website, but this format allows the columns to be better displayed and reach a wider audience.

The first Monday op-ed appeared this week, and offered a local view from the League of Women Voters, in addition to three syndicated columns.

As I was looking at the page while drinking my second cup of coffee Monday morning, I realized that we now offer extra pages in our ePaper every day of the week. On Tuesdays through Saturdays, our ePaper readers can see a Money and Markets page, including local stocks, and on Sundays they get two full pages of mutual funds prices. During pro football season, they get a page of NFL box scores on Mondays, and now the op-ed page.

If you haven’t checked out our ePaper, you can do so at ePaper.columbian.com. Access is free with your home delivery subscription, or you can choose to subscribe just digitally. Visit columbian.com/subscribe to see our options. If you are a print subscriber but haven’t joined us online, visit myaccount.columbian.com to activate your digital subscription.

An anonymous letter

A few times a month I receive an anonymous letter or email bearing a signature like “concerned citizen.” Often these letters are of the poison pen variety and attack a public figure without providing proof.

I generally ignore them — how do you interview an anonymous letter? — but I got one recently that asked a couple of questions I thought a lot of readers might want answered.

The first question was why we post some, but not all, of our syndicated opinion columns on our website. For example, Leonard Pitts goes online, but Eugene Robinson does not. The reason has to do with syndicate agreements. Specifically, The Washington Post Writers Group does not allow us to post its authors. I assume this is because WaPo would like to get the traffic for its nationally popular columnists on its own site. Pitts’ distributor, Tribune Content Agency, allows us to post his column, but not index it for search engines. Jay Ambrose of Tribune News Service is OK to both post and index.

A related question I get is why we don’t run so-and-so’s columns, often from The New York Times. It’s because we don’t license that content. Just as we ask you to buy a subscription to The Columbian and support our news, the syndicates ask us to buy a subscription to support their columnists.

The letter also asked about how we choose which letters to the editor to print, with the implication that we should decide which letters are “wrong” and not print them. The general answer is that we print virtually every letter to the editor we receive, as long as it meets our publication standards — about public issues, no more than 200 words (100 for candidate endorsements) and not more than one letter per author every 30 days. Although we don’t print letters that we know contain false information, we allow writers a lot of latitude in the belief that other readers will write in and counter them.

One of the most important roles of the newspaper is to be a place to exchange ideas and beliefs. Our op-ed pages and letters to the editor are valuable ways to do that.

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