George Pyle: Tribune Opinion section is still your soapbox

Website and new weekly print edition will welcome your voices.

Tribune Opinion Page

If you want to make the editor of a weekly newspaper really angry, you can suggest that putting out a newspaper once a week is only one-seventh as much work as printing one every day.

It isn’t.

Especially now that newspapers, including this one, are 24/7 digital operations, providing news, information and entertainment to readers wherever the internet may reach.

None of the eight newspapers I’ve worked for was the weekly kind. But I’ve known some folks who did work for print weeklies, mostly the small town variety.

Even before the days of online journalism, coming out in print once a week never meant showing up the day before publication, turning out a paper and taking the rest of the week off. You still have to cover all the meetings, all the trials, all the news, all the local sports, write all the features keep track of all the events.

There was a bit of a different mindset, in that a weekly editor needs to be a more active curator of the news, narrowing down what events are the most important and writing the articles and notices in such a way that they haven’t already become stale and useless by the time subscribers read them.

Now, with every news organization online and most in print at least some of the time, it is like running two operations at once.

Welcome to my future.

This column is part of the penultimate Sunday edition of The Salt Lake Tribune under its old format of a daily print newspaper, which it has been for 150 years. Two weeks from Sunday, the new weekly print edition of The Tribune will make its debut on porches and driveways in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and Summit counties, and in Tooele, Grantsville, St. George, Ogden and Logan. Other subscribers will receive it early in the week through the mail.

The website, sltrib.com, will continue as before, constantly updated with news, information, commentary, cartoons and puzzles. And the e-edition — that hybrid thing that delivers the images of newspaper pages via email and online — will come out Monday through Friday, as well as an e-version of the weekend edition.

Figuring out what that new weekly edition will look like, even as we continue to put out a daily newspaper and operate our website, has been a job. But we’ll be ready. We don’t really have a choice.

As far as the Opinion section goes, the plan is that it will grow from its current four-page format, with the exact number of pages depending on circumstances such as overall advertising support. That means more room in this section for local commentary and nationally syndicated writers such as Paul Krugman, David Brooks and Leonard Pitts.

As is now the case, many commentary pieces and letters to The Public Forum will be launched on our website — where space is essentially infinite — but will not appear in print. We will have to — or get to — be more selective about the material that runs in print now that there will be less of it over the course of a week.

But we still want to hear from you. From more of you. From people who have written to us over the years and from those who have never taken the opportunity. From people who are always in the public sphere and from those who would never dream of it.

Like most 21st-century institutions that care at all, we are on the lookout for greater diversity in our offerings. While I’ve always felt we’ve done well in publishing a high percentage of commentaries from female authors, we could always have more input from them, and from folks in the Black, Indigenous, Latino, Pacific Islander and LGBTQ communities, among others.

As has been pointed out to me from time to time, this section might have been a bit thin on commentary from more conservative points of view. Even our Old White Guys tend to be pretty progressive. But, judging from the people I hear from most of the time, I have also not been alone in thinking that, as a newspaper in the middle of a Republican-dominated state with a, shall we say, traditionalist religious group bestriding the cultural landscape, a liberal-slanted opinion section is the balance.

We will also be more active in recruiting people with particular knowledge or experience in certain fields to write for us.

But let’s hear from all of you. Here’s how.

Until I hear otherwise, the deadline for submissions to the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune Opinion section will remain noon on Wednesdays (if not sooner). But for the website we will continue to operate, in the language of the old newspaper wire services, with a deadline every minute.

This was, is and always will be your Salt Lake Tribune. We hope you treat it as such.

George Pyle.

George Pyle, editorial page editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, has written commentaries on manual typewriters, electric typewriters, giant computers and laptops. He awaits a brainwave implant.


Twitter, @debatestate