Last month’s editorial critical of the San Antonio City Council’s denial of a concession permit for Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio International Airport is receiving praise and condemnation alike from our audience.
Opining the council wrongly rejected the fast-food giant because its corporate leaders don’t donate to some progressive causes, based on principles of faith, the editorial concluded municipal contracts shouldn’t be subject to a religious test.
Some readers agreed; others were incensed. As usual, folks wondered why the writer’s name — the byline — wasn’t on “Talk Local,” our title for the newspaper’s viewpoint.
Probably it’s best now to revisit the mechanics of an editorial.
Considered the newspaper’s opinion, editorials aren’t bylined, in keeping with publishing traditions. Columns, however, carry attributions because they’re views expressed by one individual writing a commentary.
As to the monthly editorial, the publisher and editor — who comprise the editorial board — parse a list of relevant topics and choose one, while also formulating an informed stance based on available facts. Then, a writer pens the feature, which encompasses less than one column on a page.
Editorials should be timely and pertinent, aimed to spark discussion. Newspapers should be marketplaces of ideas, open to all, not echo chambers where opinions align perfectly and everyone shares the same view.
We always invite those with a difference of opinion to submit divergent positions, which we try to publish in subsequent issues. Of course, the door is also open for a meeting.
Newspapers are community assets, filled with so much more than just an opinion. They provide a vital function in the form of calendars, news stories, business articles, features and ads promoting goods and services.
It seems a shame to throw it all away because of a difference of opinion between friends.