That’s not a rhetorical question. Do you find the essays and blog posts offered here to be interesting, challenging, and thought-provoking?
Do you feel welcome to participate and share your ideas and arguments?
Or does the In Box color the way you hear my reporting when I pivot and offer what is my best attempt at a straight, objective work of journalism?
These are all questions we’ve wrestled with ever since the In Box launched and became one of the most visited parts of NCPR’s website.
And it’s obviously a conversation that we’re revisiting in light of the Juan Williams mess.
Let me say bluntly that I see this as difficult, gray-zone territory for any journalist.
So I think about it a lot, wrestling with where the lines should be drawn, what’s in and what’s out-of-bounds.
My goal is to try to offer fact-based analysis, to remain open-minded to good counter-arguments, and to spark interesting conversations.
And I receive a lot of editorial feedback from my news colleagues at NCPR that shapes where my blog posts go.
The reason that this all works — in my head, so far — is that I’ve always been a fan of sincere argument and open debate.
I prefer conversation (and friendships, frankly) with people who disagree with me.
I love it when people force me to see things in a new way, or prove me wrong, or offer new and provocative facts.
I also try to come at issues in ways that don’t fall into ideological, left-right grooves, simply because that’s not how my brain works.
Read through a week of posts and you’ll find me wrestling with public employee unions, with environmentalists, with tea partiers and with government bureaucrats.
But at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that I sometimes lay out views that some people find contentious, controversial, or just plain loopy.
So what do you think? Does all this add up to NCPR offering one more cool platform for public discussion and debate?
Is it a symptom of bias and blather? Something in-between?
If you could sit in on an editorial meeting to shape how we approach this part of NCPR’s work, what would you tell us?