Since we resumed weekly publication in September 2015, there has been something missing that was present during our first three years: an opinion section.
The absence first was due to our trying to reconfigure our publication with a smaller staff and smaller budget, while still covering all of the essential news in our area. Later, it sadly became a matter of inertia. Not doing something gets a whole lot easier the longer you do not do it.
So what has disrupted our torpor? The usual suspects: misguided pro-development adventurism by the Sarasota County Commission (much more on that subject next week).
It is important to point out that our publication hews to the time-honored tradition in the Fourth Estate of separating the news side of the publication from the opinion side. News should be gathered in earnest and reported without even a whiff of bias. Opinion, on the other hand, is exactly that: the stating of a position on an issue of interest to the reading public. But the news side should never attempt to influence the opinion side (other than through clear, precise reporting of the news), nor should the opinion side ever attempt to influence the content of the news. Thomas Jefferson might have characterized it as “building a wall of separation between” news and opinion. You might not always agree with our opinion, but you always may rest assured that the reporting of the news will never be influenced by the opinion.
Previously, we used political cartoons by our award-winning cartoonist, John Riley, to humorously amplify the message in our editorials. We hope to continue using special cartoons by Mr. Riley, but we are delighted to add almost daily publication of cartoons from syndicated cartoonist Clay Jones. When a cartoon pertains to a specific editorial, it will be printed at the top of that editorial. Otherwise, the cartoon will be run as a standalone (including one by Mr. Jones in this issue).
Finally, while our publication is subscription-based, all opinion pieces, whether editorial or commentary, will be accessible to anyone with or without a subscription. You will be able to read them on our website or access them through our Facebook page.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: The Sarasota News Leader welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length and include the name, street address and phone number of the sender (although only the name and city of residence will be shown in the publication). Letters should be emailed to Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com, with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line. Letters actually printed will be based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader.