Like to Write Columns? Let Us Hear From You
Got some opinions, ideas, impressions or stories you’re just dying to share with our other readers?
If so, speak up. You may be just what we’re looking for to help us round out our offering of columnists on The Pilot’s opinion pages.
First, let me get this said high up: This is not a knock on those who already inhabit our existing stable of pundits. We’re grateful to them and proud of the job they do. We’re looking to supplement — not replace — the Dusty Rhoadeses, Bob Levys, Fred Wolfermans, Kevin Smiths, D.G. Martins and Scott Mooneyhams.
If I were to sum up in one word what we would like to achieve more of on these pages, it would be “diversity.”
This doesn’t only mean variety of political or partisan leaning, although that is a high priority. It also means diversity in things like gender, age and race. No offense, but somebody asked me a while back if we weren’t just a little heavy on us older white guys. And I had to admit that this was something that had bothered me for some time — not that there’s anything wrong with older white guys.
I’m proud of the less-than-regular contributions of the Deborah Salomons, Joyce Reehlings and Beth Danielses, not to mention writers like youthful Andrew Soboeiro and Sarah Brown. Still, to keep ourselves relevant to the great variety of categories into which Moore County folks fall, we need to be showcasing an even broader mix.
I’m also talking about diversity of subject matter. National politics is an especially hot topic right now. But we’ve long been concerned that such a large percentage of our columns, week in and week out, focus on various aspects of the Donkey/Elephant thing. It can get tiresome.
The Pilot is, after all, a community newspaper, and we would like to see more of our columnists addressing local and state issues — particularly after this seemingly interminable presidential campaign has mercifully drawn to a close in a month or so.
Or never mind “issues” at all. As far as I know, all our readers are people. And people like reading about each other’s lives, families, histories, adventures, triumphs, defeats and offbeat opinions. Politics and governmental matters are important. But I am reminded of the words Shakespeare has Hamlet say: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Then there is the matter of geographical diversity. Over the months, we tend to have a lot of people writing a lot of words about Pinehurst and Southern Pines. But how about Robbins? Or Seven Lakes? Or one of my favorite little places in all of Moore County, Cameron? Or your farm in the middle of nowhere?
Bottom line: If you think you might like to write something for us, give me a call or send me an email, and we can talk. Columns are typically in the 750-word range, by the way.
I am not necessarily talking about a commitment to a weekly or biweekly column. That can be a horrendous burden to undertake (tell me about it), and it can lead to some clunkers on weeks when one doesn’t really have much to say. For starters, how about dipping your toe in the water with a one-time essay?
Again, don’t feel as if you have to tackle some weighty matter. You may have something else on your mind. How’s that new dog of yours doing? What do you think about reality TV? What do you miss most about your recently deceased grandmother? What do you want for Christmas? How has parenting changed in your lifetime? What makes young people tick these days? What do you most love about living in Aberdeen? Why do you have such a fondness for pickled eggs?
A couple of words of caution. First: No matter what the subject matter, you need a thick skin. Never can tell what is going to rattle the chains of our Web commenters, and they can be merciless.
Second: As anyone in our newsroom can tell you, penning printworthy words can be harder than it may look. As Pulitzer-winning sports writer Walter W. “Red” Smith said, “Writing is very easy. All you do is sit in front of a typewriter keyboard until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.” But it can also be uniquely rewarding.
Anyway, let me hear from you. Who knows? You may be the next Jim Dodson.
Steve Bouser is opinion editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2470 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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