Our View: Broad board

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As much as the editorials expressed here reflect the newspaper's stances on specific issues, they also should acknowledge our community's standards, expectations and values.

In order to ensure we are doing all we can to achieve the latter, the Pilot & Today has decided to appoint two community members to its Editorial Board.

This is not a step reached lightly. There are many newspapers across the country that regard editorial boards and resulting editorials as the sacred domain of publishers, editors and other members of their staffs. Including readers in that process waters down the newspaper's influence in the minds of some.

We disagree. Including community members on our editorial board can provide the newspaper with insight it might not otherwise gain. And by including community members on the Editorial Board, perhaps we can shed better light on the often misunderstood editorial process.

Our editorial board includes publisher Suzanne Schlicht, editor Scott Stanford, city editor Melissa Roddy and reporter Tom Ross. The board meets weekly and reaches consensus on the opinions expressed in this space.

It is not necessary that each member of the Editorial Board agree with the stance of each editorial. One member of the board writes each editorial and distributes copies to other board members before publication. The other members comment on the editorials and sometimes request changes before publication.

The community members who join the board will participate at the same level as the newspaper staff members. They will participate in weekly meetings and have the opportunity to read and comment on editorials before publication.

By adding two community members, a third of our Editorial Board will be comprised of community representatives. Our goal is to have the new members in place by Sept. 1.

The community members' terms will be four months. The purpose of this relatively short term is twofold. One, it allows six different community members to serve on the board during the course of the year, and second, it places the time commitment of the community members at a reasonable level.

Who should serve? We are seeking open-minded newspaper readers who are active in the community and are knowledgeable about it. We are looking for those who are interested in the news but not necessarily newsmakers. We would like for the community representatives to reflect the diversity of our community.

If you are interested in serving, send us a letter of no more than 500 words explaining why you would be a good choice for our board. Make sure to include your name, age, occupation and address. Send them to editor Scott Stanford by e-mail to sstanford@steamboatpilot.com; by mail at P.O. Box 774827; Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; or drop it by the Pilot & Today office at 1901 Curve Plaza. We will take applications through Aug. 15.

We are committed to being a community newspaper. Opening the doors of our Editorial Board to the community is one way for us to demonstrate that commitment. We look forward to your applications.

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