Editor’s column: Turning a new page

Editor in Chief
Published: 9/7/2018 8:44:25 AM

Dear readers,

It was a busy week here at the Gazette. On election night, pizza and chocolate helped us power through the early hours of Wednesday morning. Reporters came in and out of the newsroom, after talking to voters at the polls and to candidates at their various venues, from Lindsay Sabadosa’s party at Spoleto in Northampton to Richard Neal’s gathering at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

Back in the office, our digital editor, Erin O’Neill, worked with a group of former interns to run the numbers — taking results from more than 25 town clerks. In the middle of it all, one of those reporters left to go cover a fire on South St.

Many of us stayed past 1 a.m. and left the newsroom exhausted but exhilarated. I’m really proud of our election coverage, much of it orchestrated by our managing editor, Dan Crowley, and still bearing the touch of our longtime staff member Stan Moulton, who is now officially in retirement, but who, particularly in his last role as Opinion editor, was one of our resident political buffs.

I’m now getting into the swing of editing the Opinion page. I introduced myself in this role last month in my inaugural editor’s column. After it appeared, I received many nice notes as well as calls from Trump supporters accusing the Gazette of publishing fake news, and emails from Trump haters criticizing my call for more conservative voices (among other underrepresented voices on this page). One of the letters that stayed with me most came from a conservative businessman who expressed sadness that he couldn’t talk openly to his neighbors or clients for fear of losing friends and business.

What I’m after is simply a diversity of opinions and perspectives, conveyed thoughtfully and respectfully. That, to me, is what makes a good Opinion page as opposed to, say, a Facebook screed.

As promised in my last column, I plan to keep you, our readers, in the loop about some of our plans in the newsroom. We’ll soon have lost two fixtures on the editorial board: In addition to Stan, our longtime features editor, Debra Scherban, is moving on. But we’ve also gained two new members: Dave Eisenstadter, editor of the Amherst Bulletin (and former editor of The Valley Advocate), who is helping me to curate letters; and Erin O’Neill, our digital editor, who I mentioned earlier. I’m excited to have them in the mix.

Going forward, we plan to run three editorials a week, generally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with some flexibility. If there’s breaking news, for instance, we might choose to editorialize about it in the next day’s paper, whatever day that is. Monday’s editorial is currently “Monday Mix,” our commentary on notable stories from the previous week — but that could change.

With an average of three editorials a week, we will have more room for your voices — our guest columnists, regular columnists, and letter writers.

Speaking of letters, before he retired, Stan handed over dozens of letters that he had received, in both his inbox and mailbox, over the past month or so. Many he’d been unable to run because of the flood of election-related letters that had come in leading up to the primaries.

Now that the elections have passed, I’ve been revisiting some of those older letters, and I am running a few of them here.

David Gottsegen, M.D., of Belchertown, wrote to encourage community members to support their local newspaper in light of the President’s assault on the press.

Linda Lau, of Montague, wrote to share a story about a random act of kindness at Big Y in Amherst.

And, more recently, Annette Szczygiel, an Easthampton crossing guard, wrote to remind residents of some important rules of the road to protect schoolkids. (We ran that one in the paper earlier this week.)

Please keep ’em coming. We want to hear from you. 


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