[The New York Sun's famous 1897 Christmas editorial]
Following is an excerpt of Anonymous@12:12 p.m.'s comment, posted this afternoon:
A full week without an editorial sounded hard to believe, so I went to the Enquirer's website. Searching for editorials, I discovered that 12:12 is wrong.
The last time it published an editorial online was actually 11 days ago.
Now, a caveat: I was only able to count those online editorials that were labeled as such. It's possible Cincinnati hasn't been archiving all its print editorials on its website.
Checking other larger-circulation Gannett newspapers, I found numbers that were all across the map, reflecting differing archiving policies. (See table, below. Bigger view.) I counted only those editorials that were clearly institutional opinion -- that is, the voice of the editorial board, as opposed to an individual op-ed article.
Not surprisingly, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., had the most online: 44. The paper has a long, long tradition of aggressive public-service journalism, reflected in its string of Pulitzer Prizes -- at least 10 in all.
The Arizona Republic in Phoenix carried the fewest: only two, both dated today. No matter how I searched, I couldn't find an archive of past editorials, reflecting the low profile the paper gives to its institutional voice. You've got to look very, very hard to find a link to editorials on the homepage.
End of editorial line?
Corporate says on its website that its commitment to watchdog journalism is as strong as ever. "Gannett is second to none as a champion of the First Amendment," it says.
But I suspect many publishers would be happy to say goodbye to their editorial pages -- in print and online. Inevitably, institutional opinion pieces -- good ones, anyway -- offend some segment of the public.
This is particularly true during election season, when papers endorse candidates. The Des Moines Register, in one of the most influential election states, last Sunday endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination. Some Gannett Bloggers were dismayed.
What's your opinion? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.