Why don’t you sign editorials?
Many people ask: Why doesn’t the newspaper sign its editorials? Are you cowards – unwilling to stand behind your positions? Are you embarrassed? Why do you insist letter writers use their names when you don’t sign your editorials?
Good questions. I always start my answer with this: We DO sign our editorials. Every day the opinion page lists members of the editorial board in a box above the editorial. Those are the people readers can blame (or thank!) for the opinions in the editorial. While one member of the board (or occasionally another staff member) actually writes the piece, the opinions are discussed among editors and drafts are circulated among the members for feedback and editing prior to publication (or posting online). When people call and ask who wrote a particular editorial, I’m always happy to tell them (90 percent of the time, it’s me). The main reason we don’t sign them with the writer’s name is that they are group opinions that the writer may or may not fully share.
We also list the members of our editorial board online here (scroll to the bottom of the page) so readers know who is responsible for our official opinions. I’ve toyed with the idea of listing editorial board members at the bottom of each editorial online. What do you think of that idea? Would it enhance accountability for readers?
Admittedly, the idea of having an official newspaper opinion on various issues of the day is an old-school construct – but we still think it has value and adds to the public discourse.
I’m always happy to talk about policies and procedures in our opinion sections – online or in print. Give me a call!