Ask the Editor: A variety of sources write Viewpoints

Opinions on The Tribune’s Voices page are submitted by and solicited from local experts

sduerr@thetribunenews.comJanuary 31, 2010 

How do you select the “Viewpoint’’ pieces? Do you seek out the authors, or do they submit the piece?

— George Gibson, Squire Canyon

A: It works both ways. Often local individuals with expertise in a specific topic will ask if they can submit a viewpoint; usually these are keyed to current events, such as a city administrator writing about the impact of state budget cutbacks. But we also solicit Viewpoints from local experts on specific issues. During the recent holiday season, for example, we asked leaders in government, the economy, the environment, social services and education to address the challenges and opportunities that our county faces in 2010. Q: Is there a reason we have to look at Bill O’Reilly’s face each and every Saturday morning? For over half your readers, I suggest, this is a very negative intrusion into their weekend. Why not put old Bill on a different day at least, and put someone who is more generally palatable on Saturday. You spoil my digestion on a regular basis. P.S. Getting rid of him would be even better.

— Robert Dickinson, San Luis Obispo

A: We are in the final stages of evaluating our lineup of columnists on the Editorial and Voices pages in light of Ellen Goodman’s retirement. We want to thank those readers who offered suggestions. We plan to announce our new schedule within a few weeks.

Q: What is your news cycle?

— A local city official

A: We staff the newsroom on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to around midnight and on weekends from late morning to midnight — to post breaking news on www.sanluisobispo.com nearly around the clock and to publish our print edition.

Our online producer is typically the first person to arrive Monday through Friday, writing stories for our Web site that developed overnight such as accidents and crime reports. Staff reporters, photographers and editors continue to post breaking news during the day and produce more complete coverage for the next day’s Tribune. Copy editors and page designers arrive in the early afternoon to select wire stories, edit stories and lay out pages.

The last news staffer to leave is usually a copy editor, who does a press check — reviewing the first Tribune coming off the press at midnight to look for any major errors that would require immediate correction. It is exceedingly rare for us to stop the presses, but we do occasionally shift in a new page plate to correct an error or publish significant breaking news.

Do you have a question about our news decisions or news operation? Please write to me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93406-0112, or e-mail me at sduerr@thetribunenews.com.

Sandra Duerr is the executive editor of The Tribune.

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