Session Brought New Appreciation

Article excerpt

The easy part was the criticism. It was everything that led up to it that was the challenge. As a first-time participant in the general critique sessions at the NCEW convention in Little Rock, I soon realized the tough part was the preparation, and the reward was the constructive criticism of and positive feedback about our editorial pages.

It's not often that people who write opinions for a living get to talk to other people who do the same thing. At least not for those of us who work in small shops. So, the opportunity to share The Day's editorial pages with other opinion page writers and hear their thoughts on our writing, design, cartoon selection, copy editing, and online presentation provided a perspective that led to both immediate and potential future changes.

For all the advance angst--preparing my own packet and critiquing two others sent to me by opinion page writers--the face-to-face showdown was worth the work and worry. In a wide-ranging conversation that included criticisms and compliments, my group not only examined one another's work, but shared ideas and suggested resources.

For every recommended improvement--such as employing more humor and whimsy in editorials--there was a take-away, an idea one of us could "steal" from another and bring back to our newspaper. …