MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
Editorial for June 2007
By Don Deane, Editor/Publisher
Do You Have An Opinion?
Various national media pundits have recently been tsk-tsking over the insidious idea that general journalists should be able to express their opinions in their writing, rather than appear to be "neutral." I find this rather amusing because the idea of journalists being "neutral" is relatively new, historically. Some of the best and most potent journalism was done during the era of "muckracking," when readers could read various opinions in different newspapers, comparing them to form an opinion of their own.
Nowadays, I would suggest that there is no such thing as journalistic "neutrality." Everyone has opinions, mostly based on life experience, education and family background. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the reality of the discrete ways issues can be "spun" by writers or talking-heads, while pretending to be "neutral." Words used, visual clues, accepted quotes from "experts" are all part of the fantasy of "neutralism." Newspapers make choices of what to print. Writers make choices of what information to include and how to "spin" it for their audience.
I would be much better if people in general, and journalists in particular, were open and up front about where they are coming from on an issue. The mission statement of the Coastal Post is to be an "activist newspaper," based in West Marin County, California. We reflect the left-leaning, well-educated, environmentally-sensitive, interested-in-the-world majority population of West Marin. We also, however, are open to diverse opinions that don't totally jive with the majority, or with my own. Overall, in our particular diversity, we are somewhat different from the rest of Marin County, being more rural, with a certain overlay of understandings from the 60s, and a desire to stay who we are. At least that's what I think. You all will have your own opinions on who we are and who you are. We welcome them all.
In the meantime, let me emphasize that the Coastal Post is not neutral, and not disinterested. We have opinions and we wear them on our sleeve. You do not have to wonder who we are, because we are open and honest about it. There will be times when you may not agree with opinions expressed by any particular Yes, we are adding more and more local commentary and news. To answer all the queries and pleas, we need to state that we are a monthly and would like to stay a monthly. Nonetheless... circumstances have a way of offering more and more possibilities. The best of all worlds would be a vibrant and renewed Point Reyes Light as the local weekly, and the Coastal Post as a monthly or semi-monthly, offering commentary and longer, more in-depth analysis. With the serious decline of community newspapers in this country, with that plan, West Marin would have the best possible scenario for itself. If the CP acts as a catalyst to make that happen, we would be pleased.
The Coastal Post has been of West Marin, part and parcel, for the last 32 years. We are trying to reflect the diversity of thought and political reality here in our corner of the world. For that reason, we have added a subtitle to our masthead this month, The Voice of West Marin. We did that because we draw our moxy, our spirit, from West Marin ---from Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay, from Chileno Valley and Tomales, from the San Geronimo Valley and from the seagulls and the seals at the Lighthouse. And from you.
West Marin is a special place, and not just because it is so beautiful. It is special because of the people who inhabit the place, who care about it and sweat to keep it West Marin and locally controlled.
writer, either local, national or international. Tell us about it! Express yourself. Offer us a column or a letter to the editor. We are here for you. Don't be shy.
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