Hello? Anybody out there?
Sometimes we get kind of lonely down here by the tracks, and we start to wonder what you, our readers, are thinking. We know that you’re a remarkable group, deeply involved in Central Iowa business, politics and social issues, and we suspect that you have some opinions on these matters. Possibly strong ones.
Obviously, we’re softening you up so we can pitch a deal. Here it is: You send us your letters and e-mails, and we’ll make room for them as we’ve done on this page. People will know what you think, and the paper will be that much livelier.
Tell us where you stand on the events of the day or on long-simmering issues that never seem to be resolved. Alert your fellow citizens to outrages you have spotted on the horizon. Share important information that has yet to become widely known. Announce what needs to be done to improve some piece of Greater Des Moines. You can even tell us what you think about our work in the Business Record.
We don’t want to stifle your creativity, but let us offer a few guidelines: Brief messages have the edge over long ones; local issues generally will beat out national and international matters; bitter personal attacks, though entertaining, are not in keeping with the civil tone we want; and the more actual knowledge you can shine on the subject, the better.
Be deadly serious. Be silly. Pour your emotion into it like a comic-book writer or just state the facts like a patent attorney. Use whatever style comes naturally to you, because this is about participating in the community, not applying for our jobs. (We really need to keep those ourselves.)
Why are we doing this? We want to draw more perspectives into the Business Record. We think that will make it an even more important participant in the community.
Last week, the editor resigned from USA Today, flagship of the Gannett Company, in the midst of a scandal involving one of the paper’s star reporters. The editor was the latest casualty in an unpleasant streak of journalism malpractice. You’ve seen plenty about it in recent years, all because some journalists didn’t take their craft seriously. They invented sources and dreamed up quotes. They behaved as if they lived in one special world and their readers lived in another, less-interesting world.
We don’t want that here. It’s your world and we’re just reporting on the business portion of it.
We want you to realize that you have a stake in the Business Record. Maybe you see things completely differently than we do because you’re an insider, you’re an unreconstructed idealist or you’ve seen it all before.
Whatever the motivation, here’s an opportunity to make sure the paper deals in the real issues and concerns of this little corner of civilization that we all share.
Publishing your opinions is one small way to accomplish that. And it’s easy. Down through the centuries, people have stood on soap boxes, broadcast from offshore radio stations, sprayed graffiti on walls and published underground newsletters to make their thoughts known.
All you have to do is send us an e-mail.
Jim Pollock is the managing editor of the Des Moines Business Record. Call him at 288-3338, extension 241 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.