When we bought three newspapers in Eastern Iowa more than six years ago, our goal was to be nonpartisan.
We believed then, as we do now, that news coverage should be as balanced as possible and provide readers with context, history and insight into the communities we cover in the Bellevue Herald-Leader, The Observer in DeWitt and the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press.
While there has always been an abundance of differing views on the economy, social issues, politics and more, we’ve received more feedback in the past year than ever before from readers who perceive we lean one way or the other on our opinion pages. Of course, the political landscape in our country has not been this fractured in many decades, and none of us have lived through a pandemic before. But both those issues – as well as the impact of social media – have given rise to more commentary all around on topics people feel deeply about.
We’ve been labeled in the past as being too conservative or not liberal enough on our editorial pages. As of late, the majority of the criticism has come from people who feel we’ve too often ignored conservative points of view.
What we do know is we strive to provide a forum for ideas and civil public discourse. We also strongly believe it’s important for the readers of our community newspapers to find columns, editorials and opinions they can relate to or find interesting – whatever their party or beliefs.
In our effort to do that, beginning this week, we will be rotating several new columns that we hope will add an even more diverse array of viewpoints to our columns and opinion pages. We will continue running the local, state and national columnists we always have as we strive to represent a variety of viewpoints to prompt good discussion in our communities.
This week marks the debut of Adam Sullivan. Sullivan serves as a columnist and editorial writer from the Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa City newsroom, focusing on state and local government. He is a life-long Iowan and previously worked as a news reporter, public relations manager, and political organizer. And, we were pleased to learn he has family ties to Preston and Maquoketa.
Also included on these pages in the coming weeks will be columns from Victor Davis Hanson, who is a professor emeritus of classics at California State University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and he is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness, which operates a conservative website.
Our newspapers also will carry occasional columns by Cal Thomas, a widely syndicated columnist. He is a veteran of TV and radio news. For 19 years he worked for the Fox News channel and before that with NBC News and KPRC-TV in Houston. He began his journalism career at the age of 16, and 2019 marked the 35th anniversary of his column.
Lastly, we want to thank you for reading. It continues to be our honor to be able to do community journalism in the cities and counties we serve.