I think every community and every newspaper needs an Omar Campbell.
Omar and I don't see eye to eye on many issues, but he is my friend, and I enjoy reading and hearing his views about community issues. It would be hard to find somebody who invests more time in reading our newspaper.
The reason I bring up Omar is that on Sunday, he took us to task for an editorial about immigration. It isn't the first time Omar has disagreed with one of our editorials, and I am sure it won't be the last. As anyone on the Steamboat Springs City Council will attest, Omar isn't afraid to tell you when he thinks you're wrong.
But it isn't his stance on immigration that caught my attention. Rather, it was a couple of lines in his letter about the author of the editorial. "The semi-anonymous author of such a personal attack (on gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman) should have had the courage to sign it," Omar wrote.
The truth is, I am the semi-anonymous author of that editorial, which appeared in the Sunday, Feb. 26, edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Of course, Omar knows I was the author. He made a crack about it because the lack of a byline on the editorial is one of his pet peeves. I'm sure the following explanation won't satisfy him, but maybe it will clear up confusion for others.
The "Our View" editorials do not contain bylines because the editorials do not express the personal views of the author but rather the collective view of our Editorial Board. Our Editorial Board is made up of five newspaper staff members: WorldWest General Manager Suzanne Schlicht, Publisher Bryna Larsen, City Editor Brent Boyer, Reporter Tom Ross and me. We also have two community representatives who serve four-month terms on the board. Current community members are Mike Forney and Julie Taulman.
The board meets weekly and decides on two editorial stances -- one editorial that appears Wednesday and one that appears Sunday. The names of the Editorial Board members appear every day on the ViewPoints page.
As I said, although I often write the editorial, my job is to reflect the views of the board as a whole. Every member of the Editorial Board reads, edits and comments on the editorial before publication. Not every member of the board agrees with every editorial; I have written several with which I disagree. But every member of the board respects the process it took to reach the stances we take.
Editorial Board meetings are one of my favorite parts of this job. It's an hour dedicated to important stuff, when we can hash things out, disagree, plead our cases and find common ground. I also think what we do is critically important -- the newspaper has a responsibility to say where it stands on community issues. Our readers deserve to know what we're thinking, whether they agree or not.
I know it doesn't sit well with Omar, but that's a job that is too big for one person. After all, it takes a board to write an editorial.
From the Editor appears Thursdays in the Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 871-4221.