Empire editorial: Citizens Advisory Board seeks new members

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2003

As the Juneau Empire Citizens Advisory Board completes another year, we wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to those whose terms have ended, and also invite local residents who have in interest in serving to apply for the open seats.

Todd Antioquia, Laurie Ferguson Craig, Win Gruening, Robert L. Garrison, Dale Anderson and Bob Martin have finished two-year terms on the 13-member board. The Empire has benefited greatly from the participation of each of these community-minded citizens.

Board members with another year of service remaining are Mario Lim, Bob Jacobsen, Becky Carls, Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, Sandy Williams and Richard Gummow. A 13th seat reserved for a young citizen age 18 to 25 has been difficult to fill and remains open.

The advisory board serves in a variety of capacities. In addition to simply serving as a sounding board for the newspaper, the group acts as a conduit between the community and the newspaper.

It's easy for our news decision-makers to become so immersed in the daily challenge of chronicling and packaging the events of the day that we tend to miss the deep connection to the community that is required for a daily newspaper to become truly centered. The board helps in this regard by providing a broader range of perspectives on the local stories and issues of the day.

The board also hears presentations on various topics presented by visiting speakers from time to time. One of the most valuable functions of the board is to critique the work of the Juneau Empire. The board's participation in the Empire's yearlong redesign and repackaging project was especially invaluable to us.

More recently, the advisory board played an instrumental role in helping to formulate new policies and guidelines for the Empire's election coverage and background checks. We will share the details of these changes with our readers and prospective candidates for office later this summer.

The board meets the second Wednesday of each month during the noon hour. Members are asked to serve two-year terms, which allow us to rotate new people onto the board each year.

This structure helps us to maintain continuity while allowing new people to join the board each year. For the purpose of maintaining continuity over the long haul, two board members, Becky Carls and Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy have permanent seats on the board.

Our goal is to achieve the broadest possible representation by various sectors of our community in the composition of the board. We are seeking participants who will help us achieve balance in political ideology, ethnic diversity and other demographic norms.

If you have a strong interest in community building, and would like to take part in lively, interesting discussions on a wide range of topics, please respond in writing to the address mentioned below. We ask that you provide some background on your history and interests, and include a brief statement about why you would like to join the Juneau Empire Citizens Advisory Board.

The only standard we hold our board members to is regular monthly attendance. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11. Letters of application should be addressed to: Citizens Advisory Board, Juneau Empire, 3100 Channel Drive, Juneau, AK 99801. Letters can also be sent via e-mail to: dssmith@juneauempire.com. Deadline is June 6.

Don Smith



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