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Colorado paper blogs letters to editor


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January 18, 2007

Colorado paper blogs letters to editor

Stephen Baker

Sitting in a little cafe in Boulder, CO, and I see the local Scripps Howard paper, Daily Camera, is putting the letters to editor it receives online, which will appear on a blog. I would love to believe that they're following last month's blog post on this. But the idea is such a natural that I'm sure it's popping up all over the place. And Daily Camera appears to be an innovator in opening up its editorial processes. The paper has a feature called Virtual Editorial Board, in which they solicit views on a subject and then mold them into the paper's editorial.

One benefit of these openings is that they brings lots of new people--letter writers--into the blog world. I'm only guessing, but I would imagine that letter writers, as a demographic group, are grayer than the blogging mean. I'm basing this largely on my own parents. They sent letters to the Oregonian and The Times for six decades. I'd say they probably got 10% of them published in the Oregonian. One single letter, I think, made it into the Times. These are people who had strong opinions on everything from the Alger Hiss case to prisoner treatment at Guantanamo. Yet they, like so many others, struggled mightily to share those opinions with others. For them, publishing was a rare privilege, not a right.

Another Daily Camera change. "Readers are sometimes confused by the unsigned editorials, which reflect the newspaper's official stance," the paper writes. From now on, they'll put the byline of the member of the editorial staff who wrote each one.

09:32 AM

mainstream media

Stephen,

Welcome to Boulder, enjoy the sunshine and snow. :)

Another great thing the Camera does is publish great blog posts from local bloggers into their weekly Business Plus section under The Final Word.

Posted by: James Clark at January 18, 2007 11:03 AM

Welcome to Colorado! You can probably thank Dave Taylor for that wisdom, I think he might have the ear of some of the people at the Daily Camera.

Posted by: Jim Turner at January 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Hey Stephen! You're in our town. Drop me a note and let's grab a cup of tea tomorrow if you're still around! Use the contact form on my intuitive.com site, please.

Posted by: Dave Taylor at January 18, 2007 11:48 PM

Hey, sorry I left Boulder the same day I wrote that blog post. Next time I'll make plans and try to stay longer, preferably during a season where bikes don't need snow tires.

Posted by: steve baker at January 21, 2007 12:57 PM

Hey Stephen -- Greetings from yet another Boulderite.

I was just writing a post for the Poynter Institute's group weblog E-Media Tidbits about letters blogs, and I came across your post. Yes, I love that the Camera has started posting this blog, and I know several people who read it. I'm encouraging more news organizations to do this.

I think, though, that most of the letters blogs I've seen miss some pretty obvious and engaging strategies that would make better use of online media. I've just covered those in this posting:

"Letters Blogs: Your Take?"

http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=31&aid=118751

I'd love to hear what you think about taking this approach further.

- Amy Gahran

Editor, E-Media Tidbits

Posted by: Amy Gahran at February 21, 2007 05:23 PM

I should give credit where it's due. I stole the virtual-editorial page idea from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which does the VEB daily rather than weekly and solicits input on many topics rather than one.

Clint Talbott,

editor of the editorial page

Daily Camera

Posted by: Clint Talbott at February 23, 2007 11:56 AM


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