After three years of my resisting any policy or cultural opinion pieces in Free Press, I have decided to adopt two types of articles to meet two different needs.
It comes from realizing that Free Press needs to be even more a part of Oklahoma City by providing strong, local voices that shape our civic thinking and conversation here.
First, George Lang has agreed to join our growing freelance crew to represent the Free Press opinion on issues in the metro. His first piece will come out Saturday.
This will be very much in the tradition of the “editorial” that uses what we learn in our reporting to shape the community conversation.
George’s admirable writing and editing during his years at The Oklahoman and his years as the editor of Oklahoma Gazette have knit him into the metro community in some very deep ways. It gives him a unique view of this city.
His powerful editorials for the Oklahoma Gazette revealed razor-sharp thinking and writing skills I want to see in our opinion work at Free Press.
Why not me?
So, if I’m the editor, why am I not writing the Free Press official opinion?
Simply put, we are a small staff and I am still very much a part of the reporting operation.
When people read my reports about events and developments in the city, that should signal that it’s a news report, not an opinion.
I also believe that there is real strength when we add others to our thinking both internally and externally.
Second, in a few weeks, we will launch a category of opinion that gives room for helping organizations in the metro that want to include their views in the civic conversation.
Including the unique view of those organizations adds to our collective life together in Oklahoma City. We want Free Press to be an advocate of the community by giving them a platform for that voice in a consistent way.
More to come on that later.
What this is not
I’m disappointed when I see how some publications in the metro give way too much space to well-paid spinmasters who do the bidding of a tiny yet powerful group of billionaires.
Their clever work happens under the guise of think tanks, PR firms, promotional associations, and “concerned” politicians who fit very nicely into the hip pocket of billionaire donors.
It’s a shameful click-bait game we won’t play.
Our engagement with and representation of the true local community of Oklahoma City is our key aim.
Our advocacy for those who are far less powerful than the ones normally featured in the opinion sections will be clear.
I’m looking forward to this.
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