Freedom of the press is essential, but in a community newspaper such as the Ahwatukee Foothills News we value the freedom of our readers, community and business leaders, among others to get the chance to contribute their opinions and specialities to the pages of the AFN, especially on our Opinion page.
Recently, Phoenix’s daily Gannett-owned Arizona Republic decided to eliminate its community opinion sections, which included the My Turn column, reader opinion pieces and letters to the editor. That means no more community voices in those community papers. What a shame.
As managing editor of this newspaper I put together the Opinion page and all of our guest submitted articles written by local community professionals. I’ve been told that it’s often the most read part of our newspaper from readers who appreciate that we publish other reader’s voices and community professional’s advice from everything to health, finance, education, pets, sports and religion. It’s something we pride ourselves in as a COMMUNITY newspaper.
While the Republic is continuing to publish its Opinion page in the general newspaper, community suburban sections will remain silent and I wanted to take this recent news to announce that here at the Ahwatukee Foothills News we STILL want to hear from you. These community opinions, letters to the editor and guest columns give voice to a variety of different views and is widely used by local public relations specialists on behalf of their clients (see our Opinion page 20 today where a former colleague of mine writes about her thoughts on this subject, “The role of the media in our society”).
So please keep your OPINIONS coming. I know we don’t all agree, that’s evident any day of the week you pick up the AFN or go online to Ahwatukee.com (especially during heated elections like the one this week in our district for Phoenix City Council), but isn’t that what makes America great? We all have a right to our opinions and we will continue to allow you to express yours through the pages of the Ahwatukee Foothills News and online at our website, Ahwatukee.com. We just ask that you try to keep your letters to the editor at no more than 200 words and include your name, address, city and phone number for verification and email them to me at email@example.com. I ALWAYS reply to every email to let you know that I have received it and plan to publish it (as always, comments are edited for clarity and length).
We always ask that you keep your opinion pieces, which we call Guest Commentary, to no more than 500 words and include a color JPEG (300 dpi) photo of yourself along with a sentence or two about who you are and how our readers can contact you for the tagline. This is the same for submitted columns, which can be up to 800 words long and must be approved by our staff before we begin to publish anything.
In my more than 20-year career in journalism (at both daily and community newspapers) I’ve never been more proud to be at the helm of such a reader-embraced community newspaper as the AFN. Some people have asked me why I stay in a dying business and I remind them that I’m in COMMUNITY JOURNALISM and that it’s a thriving business because our readers want to hear about what’s going on in their community. Oh, and they sure want to be able to make a comment or two if they feel the need.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.