Well — it’s the end of May, and we’re still here!
Before I get into anything else, I feel I must once again thank all of our readers and advertisers for supporting us through this pandemic. Without you, the Courier-Herald would likely had to have gone 100 percent online like so many papers on the Eastside did, and like those newspapers, the chances of us bouncing back financially to restart a printed edition would have been slim.
Now that it appears we’ve dodged the bullet (knock on wood), it’s time to get back on track.
One of the most common criticisms we receive on a weekly basis is the opinion page — specifically, that we have one regular contributor, Rich Elfers. We are very grateful that he decided to continue writing for us when his freelancer contract was canceled due to the pandemic, and that he will continue to write for us as we move into the future.
So, given that we’re coming out of this COVID mess with a new look (how do you like the broadsheet format, huh?) I thought we could begin restructuring the opinion page as well.
My goal is to find four new writers, which would allow me to publish four different columns every month. This would give them enough time to research and write their next column, and me enough time to sit down with them and edit what they’ve written.
I have a rough idea of what sort of writers I would like to see apply. First, given Elfers’ focus on national politics, I believe it would be valuable to have a writer that has different opinions that he does.
But I don’t want to just focus on politics, as there is so much more to life. Want to write about 12 easy ways people can reduce waste in their homes? Awesome. Got a dozen books that changed your life, and want other people to experience them? Perfect. Are you a regular customer of Buckley’s marijuana stores and want to review some dope kush? OK, we may have to talk about that one, but I’m willing to keep an open mind.
Don’t consider yourself a proficient writer? Not a problem. I don’t want to limit this opportunity to folks who have experience expressing their thoughts on paper — I’m here to help you with that, and I’ll make myself free to assist you in any way I can.
If you think you’d like to try this out, here’s what I’d like you to do:
■ Come up with a theme. What are you going to write about? And more importantly, can you write 12 columns, each being between 800 and 1,000 words, on that topic?
■ Complete a finished draft of a column. No matter what your topic is, make sure you list your sources by including them in the body of the piece (not at the bottom, like a bibliography) where relevant. Applicants who do not use or cite sources will not be considered.
■ List out the other 10 potential columns you want to write about. This will be easier to do for some topics than others, but what I want most is to see that you have thought this through for an entire year.
■ Put together an introduction column, which will be published first. Who are you? How long have you or your family lived on the Plateau? What does your topic mean to you, and what sort of expertise do you bring to the table? What is your goal for writing a column, and what do you want your readers to get out of it?
■ Email all the above to me (firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: “Columnist Application”) by June 30 and set up an appointment to meet in person (yes, I will request that you wear a mask if it’s still necessary). If you don’t receive a response, call me (360-802-8220) to ensure I received the email.
From there, I’ll be spending June and July going over the applications and doing my initial edits, with the goal of announcing the four columnists in the last edition of the July paper and publishing their introduction columns in August.
If you have any questions or need something clarified, just holler, and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.
Otherwise, I look forward to meeting some of the Plateau’s newest aspiring columnists in the very near future.