Friday Catchall: Balancing opinions and discovery

The Friday Catchall:

• OPINIONS — I received a call Thursday, on top of five others earlier in the week, calling for the Courier to have a more balanced opinions page. These calls led me to several thoughts:

First, I will never pretend that any one day of the Courier’s opinion page is balanced. I would ask everyone to judge the page’s balance based on the week, not the day.

Any day of the week may have a column from either side, an editorial or column by a staffer (we have all sides represented in our editorial board — left, right and independent), and we formerly chose letters by length first, not politics; we’re now working to pick an equal number from the left and from the right each day, keeping in mind who wrote first.

Then there are the cartoons, which are that artist’s opinion; finding neutral cartoons nowadays has become our quest, one that is not easy and not always possible.

Whether the opinion page leans one way or the other that day also depends on the news as well as who is writing to us. (Hint: conservatives, you are more than welcome to write in too – as we receive more letters and Talk of the Town guest columns from Democrats than from Republicans.)

And local issues are our primary mission. Seriously.

I am confident that over any given week we balance out pretty well, and lean more local rather than national for the most part.

Next, I would like to remind folks it is the “opinions” page. I do not agree with half of the stuff we publish on this page, though, it all makes me think. Personally, I do not like reading or hearing only one viewpoint. Otherwise, I don’t learn or grow past my own blinders.

Finally, if half of the area’s voters favor one side and the other half do not (roll with me here; I know elections are not perfectly split), why would a newspaper (we are a business too) want to cater to only one side? Only half of the residents would read us.

That’s my philosophy.

By the way, get this: those six callers — three were from the left, three from the right.

That is balance.

• DISCOVERY — I went to the Highlands Center’s final class this week, as part of its nature series. Great info! While there my wife and I got a glimpse of the James Family’s Discovery Gardens — very impressive (and it’s not done yet). The center is off Walker Road, on the way to Lynx Lake. Mark your calendars for the public opening of the gardens: June 3.

• QUOTE — “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” – Samuel Smiles (1816-1904)

• PICK OF THE WEEK — (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): Prescott Railroad War of 1893, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 W. Gurley St. Al Bates’ free presentation will cover the short-lived but intense war between competing railroad lines vying for dominance in Prescott and Arizona. 928-445-3122.