I haven’t ventured much into the political or taken a stand on issues in this column I write as editor and publisher for the Whidbey News-Times.
But I will more as time passes.
In response to my column last week, the one in which I said I believe Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks made the right call not to prosecute two councilmen over the issue of guns in Oak Harbor City Council chambers, a reader wrote, “… amazing how ‘journelists’ (sic) can’t report something without keeping their personal opinions out of it. I realize that my whole life these ‘folks’ reporting the news have been doing it, but what a shame and a sham. I’m so glad it is rare that bother to look at mainstream media’s, um ... biased ‘news.’
In response to that reader comment, I am compelled to point out that my column is indeed my personal opinion. It appears on the page in the newspaper clearly identified as “Opinion,” and I attach my name and face to my column. It is not anonymous, and definitely NOT presented as a news article.
I agree that a news article shouldn’t reflect the writer’s opinion. As a reporter, I took the stance that whatever opinion I may have on the subject was totally irrelevant. It’s the sources and their comments that matter. I strived to obtain both sides of an issue and allow the readers form their own judgments.
When I write my Opinion page column or an editorial on behalf of the newspaper — particularly one on political issues or controversial matters, I don’t do it with the notion that everyone will agree with me. In fact, there’s always the possibility nobody will agree. And that’s OK.
The great thing about personal opinions is that everyone has ‘em, and they can lead to great, sometimes edifying discussions. Sometimes those discussions can even become constructive and lead to positive changes.
I don’t agree with every comment or opinion that appears on our letters to the editor page, nor do I agree every comment posted our newspaper websites. However, I do respect that others who publicly share their own opinions with others in a constructive manner.
We do not publish anonymous letters, and we expect those who comment online to be respectful, follow the rules and post under their real names.
Simply put, one must have the courage of their convictions to have some degree of creditability.
• Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher of the Whidbey News-Times. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org