Magazine article The Masthead

Editorially Speaking, Sammy Hagar Rocks: Youth Provides a Commonsense Approach to Opinion Writing

Magazine article The Masthead

Editorially Speaking, Sammy Hagar Rocks: Youth Provides a Commonsense Approach to Opinion Writing

Article excerpt

Would you give opinion page readers advice from Sammy Hagar?

I did when I paraphrased his song "I Can't Drive 55" in an editorial criticizing a proposal to lower speed limits.

Some of you are recoiling. What kind of editorial writer would use a dorky song from a crazy 1980s rock star to lobby the city council?

I would.

But then again, I'm not old enough to know all the rules in this game.

I'm twenty-five. Probably one of the youngest editorial writers working at a major daily newspaper. And after six months on the job, I've learned that I interpret current events in completely different (and often more simplistic) ways than my coworkers.

Occasionally they get bogged down in minutiae during editorial board meetings. I know I'm supposed to listen to all this stuff, and, by golly, I try. But some of the angles they lament fail to register on my Care-O-Meter.

One thing I do like about my youth, though, is that it keeps my writing from being pretentious or overly sarcastic. I'm rarely academic in my writing, so most of my buttressing arguments derive from common sense.

But maybe that's what we need to appeal to new or younger readers.

I think a lot of young or uneducated folks refuse to read the opinion page because everything seems so stuffy. They tend to see it as highbrow journalism written by old guys in suits who don't get out much.

Somehow we have to change that view. We have to humanize our writing--and ourselves.

I try to do that by getting out in the community as much as possible. …

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