At the end of this month, Crosscut Opinion will be no more. Under new leadership, the news site where I’ve been a columnist for over two years is shutting down the section entirely. At some point next year, newsroom staff have been told, it will be replaced with a still undefined “new process of engaging community voices.”
I’m happy to be proved wrong (it’s happened before!), but to me, this looks like a bleak turn in our local media landscape.
The opinion essay is an irreplaceable element of healthy political discourse. Unlike a traditional news story, it does not pretend to represent an unbiased version of reality. It presents a perspective, drags you through an argument, invites you to think critically: Do you agree, or don’t you? Why or why not? Ideally, it’s read by a large number of people of varying beliefs. People discuss it and argue over it. It becomes common property, a tool that empowers readers to better articulate their own positions and orient their actions.
Over the past two years, I’ve received many emails from readers, ranging from adulatory to enraged. Some of my favorites are from people who reached out to say that they found my writing thought-provoking even though they don’t share my politics or my worldview. Good opinion writing makes you pause and ponder even if you disagree.
Crosscut now hopes to “retool” and develop a “new feature” that aims to “bring more community voices into our newsroom and our storytelling,” according to the memo from...
Read Full Story: https://publicola.com/2021/11/22/crosscuts-opinion-section-is-shutting-down-thats-bad-news/
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