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Yelvington Says Cut the Editorial Page

Steve Yelvington had a few good pieces of advice and warnings at his blog last week. They include:


How the iPhone threatens newspapers

Why not kill the editorial page?

and

Watchdogging the watchdogs

Here he let’s loose on the editorial page, writing:

Instead of cutting staff, I propose cutting the editorial page — the actual printed artifact, the thing that consumes trees, gasoline and oil, and clogs landfills. Send it the way of the dinosaurs, along with the stock listings, bridge column and TV grid. Save the newsprint, save the staff.

He adds:

We need more intelligent discussion of civic affairs, not less. But killing trees and creating recycling problems is not the way to do it.

Let’s say you’re an editorial page editor. What could you do?

  • Focus your daily energies on the Internet. Liberated from the need to feed the daily print beast, you could be the first editorial page editor to actually succeed on the Web.
  • Focus on leading productive and informative conversations. That means post-response-response. A loop. Fast.
  • Build a community of thoughtful participants. Recruit heavily in the community. This is the blooming of the op-ed function.
  • If your “editorials” spark no conversation, change your topics, your style, or your writers. Or all three.
  • Lose the deadwood syndicated crap (does anybody under the age of 70 actually read George Will?) and the hatemongers (Ann Coulter). Let ‘em blog on Myspace and see how far they get.
  • Give us more editorial cartoons. And Flash animations.
  • Learn from the Guardian.
  • Once a week, on Saturday or Sunday, pull the best of the Web, especially the community contributions, into a print section. Add supporting material and new conversation starters for the next week. Make it worth reading, and worth keeping around until it’s all read.




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