Designing a Destiny for Future Editorial Pages: Opinion Pool to Provide Deep Research

By Oppedahl, John | The Masthead, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Designing a Destiny for Future Editorial Pages: Opinion Pool to Provide Deep Research


Oppedahl, John, The Masthead


By this time next year, NCEW members should have a lot more valuable research information about their audiences and some new, innovative workable ideas for adapting to the future. Specifically:

* Eight to ten newspapers will have volunteered to be experimental pilot sites for audience research and editorial page innovation led by NCEW with the help of several new partners, including the Reynolds Institute for Journalism at the University of Missouri, the Kettering Institute in Dayton, Ohio, and the Gannett Corporation.

* Focus groups and phone interviews will have been held in the eight to ten communities where the newspapers publish.

* That local research may lead to a national survey of the audience for opinion journalism in the U.S.

* The pilot newspapers, using the research, will have undertaken a number of experiments to try to figure out the best ways to operate in print (or broadcast) and on the Internet. Then, Web surveys will be undertaken to gauge how the Internet audience assesses the new work by the pilot newspapers.

All of these fall under the rubric of what we are calling "The Opinion Pool" This is an urgent, disciplined effort to build a model online template for opinion journalists. It is the result of efforts by the NCEW board and members over the past twelve months.

A year ago, in a speech to the 2006 convention, I tried to summarize the thoughts of the board and my own ideas, which had grown out of a strategic planning effort that I helped lead for NCEW. My talk was pretty downbeat.

The newspaper industry (and some local TV stations) were facing economic decline: Advertising revenues were dropping and audiences were diminishing; there were staff reductions almost everywhere and less space (or time) for editorializing.

And I hate to say I was right, but over the past twelve months, some newspapers have done away entirely with their daily editorial opinion pages and others have killed their weekend opinion sections.

I said in 2006 that it seemed to me that institutional (newspaper and local television) opinion journalism had about three years to figure out its future and take some action to guarantee that it has a future.

But I also stressed that editorialists retain marvelous, unique advantages: a great deal of knowledge of their local communities, especially public affairs; a high level of competence in analyzing and presenting ideas; strong connections to other opinion leaders; real credibility and broad brand identity.

My pitch then to NCEW members was: Build on your strengths and plan a new future. It seemed obvious that you needed more information about your audience and you needed to do some experiments--maybe radical ones--to figure out where you stood with the print audience, how you relate to the expansion of bloggers, and how you are going to evolve.

Several things happened over the past year.

First, I was asked by NCEW to speak to the collected publishers at the Newspaper Association of America convention in May in New York. I stressed to the audience there that they all have a possibly undernourished and unappreciated asset--their local opinion journalists--that is one of the few strategic, sustainable competitive advantages left to newspapers. I got what I took to be a positive response, both in supportive questions and informal conversation with publishers.

Second, I joined some NCEW board members in a meeting at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, on June 26-27, which was set up with the help of Eddie Roth, an editorial writer and NCEW member from the Dayton Daily News.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Designing a Destiny for Future Editorial Pages: Opinion Pool to Provide Deep Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.