Editorial: Editorials have the biggest signature

Published 10:05 am Thursday, October 10, 2013

Now and then, we hear the comment: “No one signs their names to the editorials.”

The fact is, this space has the biggest signature of all. It is found on the front of the newspaper. It looks like this:


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The editorials represent the opinions of the newspaper as an institution. It’s that way in nearly every daily newspaper in the United States. Frequent readers of newspapers, not just this publication, know this and are familiar with the tradition.

The editorial is the oldest part of newspapers, the part that existed when newspapers were merely pamphlets, written by journalists such as Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine. All the other aspects of newspapering — news, comics, columns, crosswords, advertising — came later.

At most modern newspapers, a board of editors shapes the editorials. That board is called the editorial board. The Tribune Editorial Board comprises Publisher Crystal Miller, Managing Editor Tim Engstrom, Special Projects Editor Kelli Lageson and City Editor Sarah Stultz. The names are listed beneath the First Amendment on this page.

The four do not always agree, and most of editorials are produced by Tim Engstrom. However, that doesn’t mean they reflect his personal opinion. The editorials are meant to guide the community, for this publication as a whole cares about the well-being of readers and has a duty to speak up about what’s going well and not so well.

When our editorials are printed in other newspapers, they credit them with “Albert Lea Tribune” just as we credit their newspapers when we publish their editorials. When candidates talk about political endorsements, they credit the newspapers, not somebody’s name.

We welcome letters, opposing viewpoints and healthy dialogue. We believe sharing ideas and opinions is good for democracy. Our editorials are part of that. Agree or disagree with us, we value the discussion.

Moreover, we are glad we had this opportunity to give some insight on our editorials.