As part of the rebirth of the Anchorage Daily News, we'll resume writing editorials.
This is the first under the paper's new ownership.
For starters, we'll aim for one editorial a week, usually on Sundays.
We intend this voice to be independent, beholden to no one. We aim to be willing to speak truth to power, whether that power is corporate or individual, public or private.
Some might wonder what kind of voice we'll be — liberal, conservative, favoring development or conservation? Will we be ideological or pragmatic? Some might frame it this way — will we be more like the old Anchorage Times or the old Anchorage Daily News?
In this paper's DNA is the ADN. Our name is the Anchorage Daily News and we're proud of it. Here's the course we'll take:
We'll listen to all interests, but won't be a mouthpiece for any. We'll try to see through spin and half-truths to clarify issues and choices.
We're a business; we do our work in the marketplace and we want that marketplace to thrive. But to be a worthy newspaper, we need to keep more than the market in mind. The heart of our business is accurate information and honest opinion. We need to earn and keep your trust that we'll provide those to the best of our ability, that we won't be bought, hoodwinked or intimidated.
Hosea Paddock's "mission statement" for his suburban Chicago paper of more than a century ago comes to mind: "Our aim: To fear God, tell the truth and make money." A bit dated but a decent guide.
Where moneymaking and truth collide, we aim to come down on the side of truth and believe that truth pays in the long run.
Those are the goals for our "institutional voice," which we hope never reads like an institutional voice but like an intelligent conversation with a trusted friend. We'll leave the mount to Moses and talk with you at the kitchen table — or on your phone, tablet or laptop — whenever you'll have us.
That institutional voice is just one of the voices you'll read here. We intend to keep these pages a battleground of ideas, powered by your voices. We hope you'll keep sending us commentaries, letters and comments online. We hope you will challenge us and one another. We all gain by robust debate, with no punches pulled but no low blows, either.
In the exchange on these pages you'll encounter plenty of spin and self-interest. The nation's founders knew that when they agreed on the First Amendment, and it's hardly news that the debates we have in Alaska are no different. But when all sides get to weigh in, there's a better shot at good conclusions. So we aim to publish and prosper by principles of fairness and free speech.
We also hope this forum is a home to Lincoln's "better angels of our nature," a place where grace and laughter temper fierce debate, and that you'll help to fulfill that hope. Some of the finest and most memorable words written on these pages over the decades weren't written by us, but by you.
We'll make mistakes, and we won't always agree. But we hope that you'll read these pages, in print and online, with trust that we earn.
Letters and commentaries
Readers often ask about guidelines for sending in letters and commentaries. We're making a few changes in those guidelines — or just enforcing old rules.
If you'd like to submit a letter, we ask that you keep it to 200 words or less. In the past, we've had the limit as low as 175 words, but 200 should work. We will generally trim letters to fit the limit, and for clarity and taste, but it's your letter, so we'll respect your voice. Brevity is a virtue in this business, especially given the limited space in print, and a 200-word limit makes room for more people to join the conversation.
For commentaries, the range is 600-800 words. That works well for both limited print space and online publication. If you write longer, there's a chance your commentary may go online only. We ask also that you send us a brief description of yourself, particularly anything that relates to your subject, and to let us know if you have any personal or professional stake in the subject. Last, we ask for a head shot photo of yourself to run with the print edition, and sometimes online as well. We prefer a photo, as it draws readers in and puts a face with a name, but it's not mandatory.
We never guarantee publication, and we never guarantee a specific day of publication, but we'll consider all submissions and their timeliness.
We want to publish a wide range of viewpoints and opinions. Most of all, we look for good writing with clear, strong arguments. Be a tough critic if you like, but spare the name-calling and personal attacks. A little zinging is all right, but within civil bounds. Attack your neighbor's idea, but not your neighbor.
Even better, light that candle rather than curse the darkness.
With that, you're invited to the conversation.
Mail: Anchorage Daily News, 300 W. 31st Ave., Anchorage, AK 99503