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We're getting ready for some editorial boards
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
It’s late September and – as I know from my 20 years in Oregon newsrooms – this is when editors and reporters start thinking about the November elections.
It makes sense: nobody is paying attention to politics when the sun is out and there are vacations to be taken and baseball games to watch. Writing about the November elections in August is a bit like keeping a diary. It might be great writing but nobody’s going to read it.
Except political junkies like me, of course.
So now, in the space of just a few short days, we’ve got sit-downs with the editorial boards of Willamette Week, The Oregonian and Community Newspapers Inc. That last one, CNI, is a partnership between The Tribune and a dozen weeklies that encircle the city. I should point out that I worked for CNI papers – the Lake Oswego Review, the West Linn Tidings, the Gresham Outlook – for a total of about 10 years. I also got a job offer at The Trib once but, being an idiot, didn’t take it.
(That last hot link takes you to the Trib’s home page, but all of the weeklies are linkable from there. Scroll down the left-hand column.)
Editorial boards work like this. You sit down with a couple of editors, maybe a couple of reporters, and you tell your tale. In our case, it’s to talk about the bond measure.
When I was with the Statesman Journal in Salem, our ed board also included a few citizens-at-large. They often asked some of the best questions in the room, but I don’t know yet if any of the ed boards we’ll see in the coming days include citizen members or not.
It’s a little terrifying, even for a guy like me who’s sat on the other side of the desk for hundreds of these things. You want to get their endorsement. You want to say all the right things. You prepare, you rehearse. You hope you don’t flub. It’s a big moment.
Fortunately, my experience is that the grand majority of reporters and editors are sitting in that room because they really want to hear what you have to say. Most of them are polite and inquisitive. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
So I’ll let you know how they go in future columns. Knock on wood.
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