Every so often, newspapers make changes to meet evolving reader needs. Being responsive to customers is the best way to keep them engaged.
The Tahlequah Daily Press' mission is to deliver the most up-to-date news about Cherokee County. With newsprint costs spiraling ever upward, delivering information to readers is a growing challenge, which is why many papers are moving to an enhanced digital format. This doesn't mean elimination of the print edition is on the horizon; it just means that instead of waiting until the paper comes out for the bulk of our stories to appear online, our staff will be investing time in regular and consistent updates to our website at www.tahlequahdailypress.com. This ensures there is always fresh material popping up, which hopefully will encourage readers to spend more time on our website - which has far more room for content than our paper's "newshole." Stories from our sister papers across the country, as well as material from the Washington Post and other sources, are also available there.
In addition to its role to inform the public as watchdogs of the community, TDP also aims to entertain readers - and in the realm of opinion, give them something to think about. We publish weekly opinion columns from local writers Justin Kennedy, Brent Been, and Kathy Tibbits. Recently, a few folks were outraged by comments made by one columnist, and it became clear we weren't doing a good enough job making sure readers knew this was the columnist's opinion, not the paper's. In fact, some people thought the piece was presented as fact. Readers of the print edition could see it was an opinion, since it was on the Opinion page with a byline. The same is true for the website, where such pieces are grouped under an Opinion "button." The problem in this case was Twitter, which does not differentiate fact from opinion, prompting some readers to think it was "news." If that were the case, their claims that TDP was biased - failing to present balanced reporting on the topic - would be spot-on. To avoid future issues, TDP is henceforth labeling each opinion as Editorial, Guest Editorial, Column or Letter. It should be understood that opinions expressed in columns, guest editorials or letters do not necessarily reflect those of TDP, its employees or its parent company, CNHI. And while editorials do impart the opinion of the newspaper itself, those views may not be held by some TDP employees, or other newspapers in our company.
There's more. We have three regular columnists in our Wednesday Witness lineup, but could add a fourth. We always welcome church news correspondents; some have been with us for several decades, as has Gene Ruth Brumback with her Believer's Arena. While these pieces are subjective, they appear on the Faith pages, rather than Opinion, since faith by its very nature is a matter of opinion. We have other local columnists as well: NSU President Steve Turner and Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Leon Ashlock on our Education page; OSU Extension Educator Heather Winn on our Living page; and OSU Extension Educator Roger Williams on our Business & Farm pages. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker files a weekly column, which we expect will be taken up by Chuck Hoskin Jr. after he's sworn in.
And we aren't finished. We're happy to announce that Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron will soon be contributing a regular column on city affairs. And Jason Nichols, the former mayor who teaches political science at NSU and is now involved in regional politics, will begin a column analyzing and commenting mainly on county, regional and state issues, but other political concerns as well. We hope to soon offer the perspective of a local Libertarian Party member, and are seeking someone who can write a piece for our Business page on investments, personal finance, and the stock market.
Finally, we're interested in the opinions of high school or college students, and would entertain the idea of columns geared specifically toward that audience. Although we cannot compensate anyone monetarily, the exposure is valuable; some of our columnists are popping up in other newspapers in this area. If you would like to become part of our lineup, email Executive Editor Kim Poindexter at email@example.com.