Got Opinions? Here’s How to Express Them on Our New Opinion Page
- Editor’s Note: For more on the rules of the road for the opinion page, see this article.
Got opinions? We know you do.
And we want to provide a place for you to express your opinions in an open forum, where people can discuss their differences, convey their points of view and participate in this little 200-plus-year-old experiment in local, home-grown American democracy.
So, as of today, Kane County Connects has a new Opinion Page. You can see it by clicking on that link in the previous sentence or by clicking on the word “opinion” at the top, left portion of the Kane County Connects Home Page.
The page will be a resting place for all opinion content, including reader polls, crowd-sourced articles, essays, columns and letters to the editor. That last part is where you come in.
And so, without further ado:
I, Community Outreach Coordinator Rick Nagel, being of semi-clear mind and quasi-sound body, do formally invite you to share your opinions on Kane County Connects.
But first …
Some Ground Rules
In order to form a more-perfect union, or at least a more-perfect forum, we have to set some ground rules. What we’re aiming for is civil, civic dialogue, and we’re going to take as many steps as we need to ensure that happens.
So, first off, we expect everyone to sign their name. That’s your full, real name and not a pseudonym, as we see so often in online conversations. If you want to express an opinion publicly, you ought to have the courage to identify yourself.
Second, no personal attacks. It’s OK to disagree. It’s OK to criticize a decision or a position or a point of view. But name-calling and character assassination are not OK, and won’t be published here.
A third requirement, as they used to say in Dragnet about a billion years ago, goes like this: “Just the facts.” Write what you know, make sure it’s true, and back it up if you need to with a link or a reference to a reliable source.
How to Express Yourself
Now, how do you go about expressing your opinion on Kane County Connects? We’re going to start slowly and carefully, and advance from there. Primarily, we’re going to offer the opportunity to state your opinion in writing. In newspaper parlance, that would be in the form of a letter to the editor, guest column or guest essay.
To submit, please email your text to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and telephone number. The length is up to you, but if you want to keep and capture someone’s attention in an electronic medium, shorter usually is better.
We encourage Kane County citizens and elected officials to use this forum to express your point of view, clarify your position, praise or compliment a person, business, activity or event.
All comments must be manually approved.”
If you have questions about any of these policies, contact Community Outreach Coordinator Rick Nagel at email@example.com or 630-915-3747.
As I said earlier, we’ll proceed carefully with this little civics experiment and evaluate it daily. If it works, we’ll celebrate. If it doesn’t, we’ll discontinue the opinions page. Our hope is that this page advances our mission to involve communities, engage citizens and open government. Now …
Let the conversation begin.
Oct. 10, 2014