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Help wanted: Volunteer citizen reps for Editorial Board

Like all communities, ours regularly faces critical moments and important decisions. Helping to lead robust, healthy, and civil conversations about important issues — everything from mining to land use, preservation to economic development, and schools to tourism — is an important role the Editorial Board and the Opinion page play in our community.

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A community is stronger when its newspaper has a strong voice, when it offers editorials on matters important to who we are and where we live, editorials that help to start and inspire those critical community conversations we need to be having, the ones that lead to consensus and solutions.

News Tribune editorials have long been made stronger by input and perspectives from the community, most directly from the citizen representatives who volunteer and are chosen to serve for limited terms on the newspaper’s Editorial Board. The board determines the newspaper’s “Our View” editorial stands and its institutional and editorial voice. One to two citizen representatives serve on the board at a time, with regular rotations every six months to ensure fresh views and diverse community viewpoints.

With the end of this year come the ends of the terms of current Citizen Representatives Amy Merchant and P.A. “Phil” Jensen. Readers and the community can join me and the News Tribune in thanking them for their service, in particular their valued insights through the 2022 midterm election coverage on the Opinion pages.

In the first weeks of 2023, the News Tribune hopes to name their replacements. If you're interested, send an email to Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick at cfrederick@duluthnews.com. Include a bit about yourself, your politics, your community involvement, and why you'd like to serve. Past applicants can feel free to apply again.

Incoming citizen representatives will join permanent board members Neal Ronquist, the News Tribune's publisher; Kris Vereecken, a longtime News Tribune news assistant and employee representative to the board; and me as editor of the Opinion pages.

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Young people and people of color are especially encouraged to express interest. The newspaper is committed to maintaining, as much as possible, a balance on its Editorial Board: both liberal and conservative, younger and older, etc.

On a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, unpaid citizen representatives will be asked to help generate, weigh in on, and assist with shaping the newspaper's editorial positions and views. Many days that means simply sharing your thoughts by responding to a group email with other Editorial Board members. Anyone on the board can initiate such back and forth.

Representatives also can expect to meet regularly with newsmakers, politicians, government officials, and others. Many of those meetings are still being conducted virtually. Whether in-person or online, they tend to take place during weekday business hours and sometimes are scheduled with little notice. That can be due to the news of the day or a newsmaker's availability. A flexible schedule and a regularly checked email account are helpful.

Like all communities, ours regularly faces critical moments and important decisions. Helping to lead robust, healthy, and civil conversations about important issues — everything from mining to land use, preservation to economic development, and schools to tourism — is an important role the Editorial Board and the Opinion page play in our community.

Few newspapers seek participation and input from residents in determining their editorials and stands, making this an invaluable opportunity, unique to Duluth, to give back to the community while also supporting local news.

Interested? I look forward to hearing from you!

— Chuck Frederick, Editorial Page Editor, Duluth News Tribune

Related Topics: OUR VIEW
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