Empire's Citizens Editorial Advisory Board reconvenes

Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2001

The Juneau Empire has relied for a number of years on its Citizens Editorial Advisory Board to provide a sort of compass and barometer to guide its editorial course. Specifically the board serves in a variety of capacities. In addition to simply serving as a sounding board for the newspaper, the group also acts as a conduit to the community and provides another dozen or so perspectives on the stories and issues of the day.

It's easy for the news decision makers at the paper to become so immersed in the daily challenge of packaging and chronicling the day's events that we tend to miss the deep connection to the community that is needed for a newspaper to become truly centered.

Our goal each day is to present a balanced and comprehensive report on the events and issues that affect our daily lives. That challenge is made easier by expanding the internal influences of the newspaper to include citizens from various walks of life. The Citizens Editorial Advisory Board, therefore, plays a vital role in the editorial mission of the Juneau Empire.

To enhance the effectiveness of the board we are planning to expand the meeting schedule from quarterly to monthly. Instead of meeting in the evening, which has been the past practice, we will hold the regular meetings over the lunch hour. We hope the noon meeting will lessen the impact on the day's activities and improve attendance.

Last Wednesday, the board was reconvened after a long hiatus. Bruce Abel, Becky Carls, Laurie Ferguson Craig, Win Gruening, Kathy Kolkhorst, Deborah Marshall and Jamie Parsons from the last board met to discuss a new direction for the advisory board. Other past board members not in attendance include Bob Martin, Amy Jo Meiners, Judy Steffel and Richard Stitt. We offer our apologies to Amy Jo as the noon meeting time doesn't work for her teaching schedule.

By meeting more frequently, we hope to build stronger continuity and cover more ground.

We also are making two other significant changes to the board to improve its effectiveness. Firstly, we will increase the number of board members in an effort to better represent a cross section of the community. Our goal is to add six more members. In addition to the interests represented by the individuals mentioned above, to round out our representation we are seeking volunteers from the following sectors: The clergy, the Native community, law enforcement, city government, education, state government, and retirees.

If you have a strong interest in community building, and believe that you can speak for one of the categories mentioned above or some other area of interest, please respond in writing to the address mentioned below. Please offer some background on yourself and provide a brief statement on what you hope to contribute to the Citizens Editorial Advisory Board. Volunteers will find the experience rewarding as they participate in interesting, lively discussions on a wide range of topics.

The second change of note calls for a two-year commitment from board members. In the past, board members have had no limits on the length of their service. Since we also are planning to turn over half of the positions each year, we will ask that half of the newly convened board members serve one year. This process will allow us to bring new people (and viewpoints) each year while maintaining some level of continuity.

If you are interested in serving on the Empire's Citizens Editorial Advisory Board, please respond to: Citizen Volunteer c/o Don Smith, Juneau Empire, 3100 Channel Drive, Juneau, AK 99801 or e-mail to: dssmith@juneauempire.com.

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