OpEdNews is an evolving entity, more than a news site. It's an evolving, ever changing experiment and YOU are a part of that experiment.
I've been thinking about OpEdNEws, which I do on some days. Sometimes. I think about ways to improve the functions and features of the site. Sometimes I think about the community. That's what I'm thinking about today.
I have grown to envision OpEdNews, more and more as a growing, evolving community. Personally, I'd like to see it get bigger. Bigger means more reach, and more influence upon, more access to political and activist leaders and mainstream media.
I see myself having responsibilities to the writers who post to the site, to the readers and to the subjects of the content we publish. I've learned that the more I share responsibilities with others who get involved with the site, the more successful the site becomes.
Some, particularly some of our earlier members, oppose the growth of the site, saying it is changing. That's probably true. But my goal has long been to be able to shine light on the truths that other media do not expose, and to make a difference in making the world a better place.
So, when YOU sign up for a newsletter and you get more than news, also getting updates on the OpEdNEws site, the people, the community, that may be more than you had in mind. But I encourage you to consider yourself a part of this community.
Now, we're a media/blog community. That's a new idea and all the rules, the expected ways to behave, to interact, to participate have not all been fully evolved or fleshed out. That means you are also part of an ongoing experiment, which is great for adventuresome spirits, not so great for people who like everything clearly laid, out explained and clearly defined.
That's not happening here. We have, within our community, an incredible wealth of wisdom, experience and education. We have all kinds of personalities and between all these tremendous assets and resources, we are building the future of a concept, a process, an experience that has never been built before... and that's just fine. I've always told my kids, my employees and students that "there are many things that you can do, that you've never done before." And that applies well to the OpEdNews community.
Here at OpEdNews, there are many things that can be done that we have not thought of doing yet, and we'd love to hear your ideas on might they could be. There are extraordinary possibilities here and be assured, YOU can play a role in making the extraordinary not only possible but even, reality.
I've attempted to sort out where in the sociopolitical cosmology OpEdNEws fits. We're definitely left of some of the Democratic party supporting blogs, like Dailykos, and left of the Huffingtonpost. We're probably not as far left, overall, as counterpunch.org. But our huge volume of articles spreads us over very wide range and you could probably find as many articles that are as far left as counterpunch, or as many articles that are more centrist, like dailykos or democratic underground. But our volume and diversity are also key in any attempt to define us. We routinely accept more conservative articles and welcome civil conservative commentary. And these are experimental variables. Does it work? For some yes, for some no.
OpEdNews has also been developed as a tool for progressive individuals, groups and organizations. It's possible to specifically come into OpEdNews and use it for your purposes. You don't absolutely HAVE TO participate in the community, but if you don't, you're probably missing an opportunity to maximize all the resources at your disposal.
One aspect of the site that is very important is the ability to comment. When I write an article, I don't always go all the way and do all the research. I trust our readers to help fill in some of the info and some of the perspectives I'm leaving out. This is a concept that not all writers nor all editors get. It's important, especially when you're making strong or not widely known claims, to document, preferably with outside links. But otherwise, it can be freeing and can produce great content to open up the article by trusting readers to fill in the gaps. This is a new way of writing-- writing with the reader's response included as the conceptualization of the full document.
Call it living, evolving writing-- in that the publishing of the article or diary is just the first step. Now, not every article has to go this way. It's just fine if you write the same kind of article you'd write for a print daily newspaper. But this is an invitation to expand your way of thinking about your relationship to your readers.
If you don't write articles, this is an invitation to expand your concept of your relationship to the writers you read and to this website. Think more in terms of "WE" than me and not me.
When you read an article, think of how you can be a part of the article by commenting.
So that's where I'll end this little excursion into discussing the path we're on. I'll include this as part of the email to our 12,600 newsletter subscribers and I'll also post it as an article. It won't be complete without your thoughts, observations, suggestions, criticisms.