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A user’s guide to the commentary pages of The Dallas Morning News
This tells you the paper’s top news executives and past publishers.
ditorials represent the institutional opinion of the newspaper. That opinion is shaped by the editorial board on behalf of the newspaper’s owners. The editorial board is advisory to Vice President and Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, who is advisory to the newspaper’s editor and publisher. The editorial board has developed this statement of philosophy to guide its thinking:
“As the soul of the newspaper and the conscience of the community, the editorial pages provoke, inspire and challenge readers. We believe in a progressive conservatism that advocates civil rights, fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, effective local governments, public accountability and an internationalist foreign policy.” How editorial opinions are developed: Editorial board members offer topic ideas during regular staff meetings. The topic, message and tone of the proposed editorial are often hotly debated. The editor listens carefully to the debate, selects a course of action and asks for a volunteer writer. Often the editorial writer whose arguments have carried the day volunteers. Editorials are unsigned because they represent the institution’s view, rather than the view of the individual writer. The best editorials are memorable. They are persuasive, compelling, relevant to readers, passionate, constructive, timely and provocative. They are well-researched and smartly written. They are, by definition, opinionated. Sometimes, the most powerful editorial is a photo with a single sentence. Other times, it’s a 1,000-word treatise. The power is in the topic selection, the logic employed and the rhythm of the writing. In shaping the content of daily and weekly commentary pages, the editors keep the department’s five aspirations top of mind: Provide strong community leadership, provide a forum for informed debate, get new voices/viewpoints on the pages, actively engage readers and increase readership of these pages and the newspaper as a whole.
We subscribe to cartoonists nationwide and cull through drawings daily to pick the best. Political cartoons on the editorial page are generally consistent with the newspaper’s views on issues. Cartoons on the Viewpoints page reflect a variety of perspectives.
Here we offer the newspaper’s institutional opinion.
Want to get something off your chest? Letters are your chance, impeded only by our 200word limit and our editing for clarity, style and accuracy. The News receives about 450 each week; about 10 percent will see print in our representative sampling. There is no shortage of online forums where people can anonymously call others names, make up facts and throw bombs. But in our published letters to the editor, people sign their names and publicly stand behind their opinions. That makes them stand out among the chatter. Contributors are right to feel honored to see their submissions chosen from a crowded field and their arguments presented in the liveliest forum for informed debate in Texas. We love focused letters that make a point with humor, irony or precision. It surprises some people to learn that we place a priority on letters that disagree with our editorial positions. (For tips, see dallasnews.com/letters.) To write a letter to the editor, use our online form at dallasnews.com/sendletters. It offers a quick way for readers to send — and for us to consider — letters. It will work on your iPad or mobile phone, too, so you can send us letters on the go while your thoughts are still fresh. The only other way to send a letter to the editor is via the U.S. Postal Service: Letters From Readers, TDMN, P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265. But trust us, the online form is quicker — and it doesn’t charge anything for confirmation or a return receipt!
HITS AND MISSES
This quick, witty Saturday staple offers a venue for comment-in-short on a wide variety of developments.
Vice president and editorial page editor, 55 At The Dallas Morning News since late 2002, Keven developed her interest in politics early. When her family lived in Washington, D.C., her mother used to take Keven as a baby in her bassinet to the U.S. Senate gallery to watch the likes of Everett Dirksen and Estes Kefauver debate the issues of the day. Three decades later, Keven was a political columnist for The Arizona Republic in a state that for most of the ’80s and ’90s was best known for impeaching, indicting or otherwise politically impaling its governors. Editorial pages under her direction won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and were finalists for the same prize three other times since 2001. Keven studied briefly in Europe and Mexico before graduating magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University and starting (but never finishing) a master’s program in Spanish literature. She is a member of the Pulitzer Prize board, enjoys hiking and biking, and lives with her chef husband in downtown Dallas. Email email@example.com Twitter: @KA_Willey
KEVEN ANN WILLEY
The editorial board and staff
RUDY BUSH Editorial writer, 38 Rudy spent his first six years at The Dallas Morning News learning the ins and out, and ups and downs, of Dallas City Hall. The experience taught him how city government really works and why the decisions made downtown are so important to residents and the region. Prior to joining The News, Rudy wrote for The Chicago Tribune about everything from the mob to the indictments of consecutive governors. His experience covering politics’ seedier side was a reality check that he carries with him in his work as a journalist. A graduate of the University of Dallas, Rudy will join the editorial board on Feb. 3, succeeding William McKenzie. When Rudy isn’t writing and reporting, he’s trying to keep up with his four children. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter:@rudybush RALPH DE LA CRUZ Editorial writer, 55 Born in Cuba, raised in South and Central Texas, exiled to the far reaches of the Lone Star Empire — California and Florida, that is — for 25 years, Ralph finally returned to God’s Country in January as an editorial writer for The News. His writing career has been almost as circuitous. He has had stints in sports, business, lifestyle and news, as both reporter and columnist — a mix that serves him well in the catch-all world of editorial writing. Ralph attended the University of Texas at Austin but left without a degree after talking his way into his first newspaper job by offering to work on a trial basis for free for a week. The business has always appreciated economically naïve employees. Emailrdelacruz@dallasnews.com Twitter: @DeLaCruzDMN
Editorial writer, 55 Everything and nothing about Mike’s first two decades at The News prepared him for life on the opinion pages. In 20 years with SportsDay and on the city desk and long before that, he had grown used to being a lonely right-wing nut — with staunch Democratic parents and sisters and a typical college experience at UT-Arlington — so the editorial board occasionally offers him a little company. Today, he writes editorials, offers personal thoughts at our Opinion Blog and writes the occasional op-ed. A graduate of Dallas’ Kimball High, he and his lovely wife, Metro columnist Jacquielynn Floyd, live in Flower Mound surrounded by spoiled cats. Email email@example.com Twitter: @MikeHashimoto
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The Dallas Morning News
Monday, December 30, 2013
On Twitter, you can follow all the members of the editorial board and get updates on the latest opinion content by following @DMNOpinion. On Facebook, you can share your opinions on the latest headlines by liking the official Dallas Morning News Facebook page: facebook.com/dallasmorningnews. Look for us on Google+, too.
Editorial board members get warmed up by airing their theories, arguments and peeves on the Opinion Blog. They often butt heads on subjects that later end up as published editorials. Readers can watch the debate unfold and even join the conversation at dallasnews.com/ opinionblog.
Deputy editorial page editor, 57 Sharon oversees the Editorial Department’s day-today operations and leads the “Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap” project, begun in 2007 to advocate for the southern half of the city. A selection of work from the project was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. She's also in charge of making our daily Viewpoints picks. Sharon’s Dallas roots reach back to 1980, when she joined the DMN newsroom after working at newspapers in New York and Detroit. She’s a graduate of Baylor, where she drove the administration crazy with her editorial writing at the student newspaper. These days, when Sharon is not on the job, she’s running, antiquing for her 1930s East Dallas house or trying to perfect a chaturanga. Email email@example.com Twitter: @SharonFGrigsby
The Viewpoints page, published Monday-Saturday, appears opposite the Editorial Page. In shorthand, it’s the op-ed page. We review 100-200 manuscripts daily from which we select the three or four best. What qualifies as best? Sprightly written fresh arguments with strong points of view on timely topics. And we place a premium on local subjects. We carefully keep track of the ideological bent of the columns we publish to assure that we run a balance of opinion. Viewpoints and Points have published about 1,400 columns this year, with the total liberal voices and total conservative voices separated by less than 1 percent. In addition, we make sure controversial topics — whether it’s local fracking or national health care — get columns from both sides. The Viewpoints page includes: ■ Syndicated and other national columnists: These columnists, who write regularly, boast an expertise and reader following that give them exposure in multiple newspapers. We have access to more than 30 of these writers. Charles Krauthammer, George Will and Kathleen Parker are three of our conservative voices. Ruth Marcus, Leonard Pitts and Esther Cepeda are among the liberal columnists we publish. ■ Local columnists: Several local writers’ work has earned them a recurring spot on Viewpoints. For instance, Gordon Keith, Gerald Britt and Mark Davis. Most of our local columns are by one-time writers with expertise on a timely topic. ■ Voices columnists: The Saturday Viewpoints page is produced by online community manager Michael Landauer and features some of our Voices volunteer columnists. See dallasnews.com/voices for more information. ■ To submit a column: Columns should be no more than 650 words. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Points is the Sunday opinion and commentary section of The Dallas Morning News. It’s the place to find sharply written, in-depth analysis of current events and trends, as well as eclectic and unconventional takes on issues from the world of politics, ethics and morality, pop culture, foreign affairs, technology, the arts and, most of all, dispatches from the front lines of the culture war. Points aims to be a fun, stylish read for intellectually engaged people. The Points section includes: ■ Essays and columns: Who writes for Points? No weekly lineup is the same. You might find a nationally syndicated columnist, a Dallas Morning News writer and other thought-provoking experts from our backyard or across the globe. Some will debate from the right, some from the left, but most come from a place that defies such rigid categorization. The common thread that ties them all together is a counterintuitive approach that lives up to Points’ “Think Sharp” motto. ■ Special Points features: Each week, the section cover includes Talking Points, a round-up of notable quotes from the week’s news, from the piquant to the poignant. You’ll also find our weekly Q&A, Point Person, in which members of the editorial staff interview a provocative newsmaker or an insightful expert, with a focus on ideas that enlighten and challenge. ■ Editorials and cartoons: On 2P, you’ll find our Sunday Editorial Page, and on 3P, we treat readers to an expanded selection of letters to the editor and additional cartoons. ■ To submit a column: Most columns run at 750 words. Submit to email@example.com.
Assistant editorial page editor, 36
Nicole helps oversee the daily operations of the Editorial Department in addition to serving as the editor of Points, the Sunday commentary section. She also edits editorials, including the weekly Hits and Misses feature. She joined the editorial board in 2006 after seven years as a copy editor. Nicole is a Kansas transplant who graduated from Wichita State University, with a degree in communication and political science. These days, she calls north Oak Cliff home, where she lives with her sportswriter husband, Corbett Smith. They love taking trips to national parks but spend most of their waking hours chasing around their spirited 3-year-old and 1-year-old daughters — and forgetting to watch movies they've Netflixed. Email nstockdale@ dallasnews.com Twitter: @nstockdale
Editorial writer, 63 Commuters, Rodger is looking out for you. He writes about local and state transportation issues, and he’s a daily mass-transit user, so he’s always scouring the news about roads and rail. Rodger also concentrates on criminal justice and the death penalty, politics, the Legislature, education, downtown and the arts. A Richardson resident, he arrived in Texas in time for sesquicentennial hoopla, but he hasn’t forgotten his Buckeye roots. Rodger is also known for exploring “alternative” editorial forms, such as the world’s first online singing editorial. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @RodgerMJones
Editorial writer, 59
TOD ROBBERSON Editorial writer, 56 Tod is passionate about international issues, having spent a quarter-century as a correspondent and editor covering Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. He likes fixing things and finding creative solutions to persistent problems, whether it’s peace in Iraq or a leaky water pipe over the bathroom sink. He’s an avid tennis player. His wife, a theater director, and actress daughter keep him busy on the Dallas stage scene. Tod’s favorite novel is Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, about a tough Oregon logging family that overcomes adversity and refuses to “give a inch.” Email email@example.com Twitter: @trobberson
BONNIE BISHOP Assistant to the editor, 54 Bonnie handles the administrative duties for the editorial department and assists on special projects. She celebrates 28 years with The News and still believes it's an ongoing education to work here. She is the proud parent of two very interesting young adults who keep her young at heart!
Jim has been with The Dallas Morning News since 1984, joining the editorial board in 1998. His specialty is business and economics, but he’s been known to craft editorials on topics as diverse as the Wright amendment battle, emerging technologies, international AIDS policy, city politics and cultural and societal shifts. Jim graduated from Loyola University, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended business and economics workshops. Meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa was his most unforgettable career moment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @JimMitchell18
For queries about these pages, contact the Editorial Department:
Main number: 214-977-8205 Email: email@example.com
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