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Why we’re dropping editorial cartoons

The people of America, Michigan, and Northeast Michigan represent a diverse collection of viewpoints and ideologies.

We here at The News have strived to reflect that spectrum on our Commentary pages through use of local and syndicated columnists, local and syndicated editorial cartoonists, letters to the editor, and Viewpoints written by The News, other Michigan papers, or our parent company, Ogden Newspapers.

We strike that balance to provide readers access to a range of viewpoints and ideas so they can educate themselves, challenge their own preconceptions, and further civil discourse.

However, especially over the past two years or so, things haven’t always gone that way. More often, the syndicated content, especially — the cartoons, especially — have caused more division than discourse. Conservatives rile at the liberal cartoons, liberals rile at the conservative cartoons, and neither side wants to talk about it.

To get ourselves closer to the intended mission of the Commentary pages, we’re making some changes.

First, we aim to publish as much local content as possible, as little syndicated content as possible. We’ve recruited new local columnists and recruited Alcona County resident Eric Paul Roorda to draw editorial cartoons for us that address local issues. We’ll continue to seek out new local voices to replace syndicated ones wherever possible. We’ll still publish syndicated columnists as needed, bringing a mix of conservative and liberal voices.

However, we will no longer publish syndicated political cartoons. Roorda’s cartoons will appear on Saturdays, but we’ll run no other cartoons. Instead, we’ll run a daily list of contact information for local, state, and federal lawmakers, so our readers can share their views with those empowered to make decisions on their behalf.

We made those changes after much thought and deliberation.

As always, we welcome your input either as a letter to the editor (up to 300 words) sent to newsroom@thealpenanews.com or in a note directly with Publisher/Editor Justin A. Hinkley at jhinkley@thealpenanews.com.

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