Editorial: This space available, if you're willing and able

Between the Lines

Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2007

You'd think a newspaper editor would have little problem finding opinionated people. But that's exactly what I'm looking for.

Sound off on the important issues at

Newspapers are magnets for the outspoken among us. Every day I hear from people with opinions on what should or shouldn't be in the Juneau Empire.

Those opinions, from as many viewpoints as possible, are exactly what should be in the paper. It's easy to pick up a phone and give an editor an earful. But it takes time and skill to write a good column, not to mention the courage to put your name on what you believe.

Right now, the Empire needs writers who can pen a thoughtful and thought-provoking column once a month on local or state politics, community issues or social trends that affect Alaskans.

We need writers who can make people think, make people laugh, and even make people mad.

The last time I sought out local columnists, I had a tough time recruiting writers from the right. Now the only two local columnists still writing for us regularly are conservatives.

This is not by design, but because the others have dropped out over time as other commitments pulled them away.

We need more political and social variety. Ideally, we'd have a mix of liberals and conservatives, including a Libertarian and Green party perspective.

We'd have at least one Native writer, and someone from the Filipino community as well. As least one columnist would be 20-something, and we'd have a teen writer too. With some luck, we'd get a voice or two from surrounding communities: Angoon, Hoonah, Gustavus, Haines or Skagway.

Columns give writers a chance to explore an issue with a little more depth and more room to tell a story than is possible in a letter to the editor. If you'd like a chance to be part of the new mix of voices on our opinion page, let us know.

To apply, send two writing samples - either past work or pieces that could run in the Empire. If it's a potential piece for the Empire, make sure it's no more than 700 words.

And if you aren't a writer yourself, please pass this on to someone who is.

• Lori Thomson is the managing editor of the Juneau Empire.

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