It’s “Giving Tuesday” as I write this, and I can see from looking at the online posts of local nonprofits that people really are giving. We know firsthand about this generosity because so many of you have contributed to our own Local Journalism Project, helping us to build up the resources that will be needed to support young journalists here and make the Independent a stable and sustainable local news organization. We’re still at the beginning of that work, but the signs are encouraging, both from donors and from subscribers — more than 900 of you already.
There’s another area, though, where we wish our readers were more generous: writing letters. We know you’re busy. And you probably think that anything appearing in print over your name has to be a masterpiece of rhetoric and wit.
We know you are reading what we write. We hear you talking about it. At Monday’s special town meeting in Provincetown, it was clear that many people had read in these pages Paul Benson’s amazingly complete and digestible history of the VFW parcel at the heart of the controversy. And we see plenty of comments about our work on Facebook.
But it’s so easy to post a comment on Facebook, you say. Well, we make it easy, too. Just send us an email. We’ll work with you to make your letter even better, if you like. That’s something that Facebook won’t do.
Sometimes I wish you could all sit in on our weekly editorial meetings here, when we talk about the last edition and the articles that people are working on. It’s very different from my last newspaper job, because this group has so many more voices with varied points of view. It changes and deepens the way we understand and report the news.
That’s why we need your letters, so that your voices become a part of that conversation. The direct encounter between people with different ideas and opinions who actually listen to each other is the foundation of good journalism — and good government as well.
After town meeting this week, Fire Chief Michael Trovato, who was on the losing end of a close vote, was none too pleased to be approached by reporter Paul Benson. He gave Benson an earful because, he said, the Independent’s editorial last week had hurt his cause and he had taken so much abuse for his position on the VFW. Benson, ever curious, listened and asked questions about how the town might move forward to address its public safety needs, taking notes for the next story. Soon the two were shaking hands and sharing ideas for the spring town meeting.
Here’s my idea: Writing Thursday. When you sit down with the latest issue of the Independent and read something that gives you an idea, write it down and send it to us. It’s a gift we’ll make good use of.