Uninitiated Unclear on the Concept

By Denton, Tommy | The Masthead, Summer 1995 | Go to article overview

Uninitiated Unclear on the Concept


Denton, Tommy, The Masthead


Unwilling as I am to speak in universal terms for my colleagues in the opinion craft, I will venture to suggest that most of us find ourselves cloistered in ivory towers certainly more than we would prefer, and even more than we would like to admit.

Opinion writers, like reporters, develop their own distinctive methods of cultivating news sources and those who help us to understand the players and events that form the body of information with which we ply our trade. From the thunder of criticism about being "out of touch," though, you have to wonder whether we've somehow missed some important linkage in the communications network.

At my newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, community advisory boards are nothing new. At last count, three such panels were in more or less active status as critics/counselors and sources of feedback as to our numerous journalistic shortcomings and our rare complicity in random acts of modest competence.

Not long after I joined the paper 12 years ago, delegations from the newspaper would go out into neighborhood meeting places to invite comments and criticisms from our readers on their own turf. As I recall, we hosted four such sessions within a three-month period, and the exercise was discontinued for lack of sustained interest - the public's, not ours.

About six years ago, we tried again. This time, we called on two sets of citizens. The first was a panel of community "leaders" from the more visible participants in civic, political, and social activities. The second was composed of "grassroots" advisers, whose perspective would be, well, different. Invariably, the few sporadic meetings led to the inescapable observation that most of our readers had little knowledge of the dynamics of producing a daily newspaper. Much of the time in those sessions was devoted to explaining - usually to incredulous faces - the mundane routines completed under stressful deadlines that led to the final product tossed onto front lawns each day.

Despite our diplomatic protests to the contrary, many of our critics simply could not accept the idea that some menacing conspiracy - no doubt shaped by a socialist or racist agenda - was at work in the duplicitous fashioning of ideologically shaded information. Somehow, the idea that newspapers were produced by human beings afflicted by the potential for making mistakes did not seem plausible.

Once the notion was seriously entertained, however, interest in the advisory board meetings waned. Either the participants considered and accepted the explanations, or they gave up trying to get through to us. In any event, after about three sessions, the boards didn't meet again.

Last year, the paper established a Star-Telegram African-American advisory council in response to several strong public criticisms about coverage and editorial endorsements for political office.

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

Uninitiated Unclear on the Concept
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.