You can help shape Olympian opinions

Want to give The Olympian a piece of your mind? Would you like to help frame the newspaper’s editorials?

This is your chance. We’re inviting subscribers to join our editorial board for a one-year term, beginning in January.

The Olympian is one of the few newspapers in Washington that include community representatives on its editorial board, and give them an equal voice in shaping the newspaper’s opinion page agenda. Most newspapers confine their editorial boards to members of the news and opinion departments.

We began adding community representatives to the board in 1992. We have found the citizen members broaden our perspective on community and regional issues, and challenge our permanent board members – publisher George Le Masurier, senior editor Jerre Redecker, and columnist and editorial writer John Dodge – to view the community through fresh points of view.

Community representatives participate in our weekly meetings with local, state and national newsmakers, as well in daily electronic discussions that determine the content of our editorials. All editorial board members, including the community representatives, contribute to the newspaper’s official editorial position, including candidate endorsements for elected office.

The editorial board meets at 10 a.m. every Wednesday, and requires a commitment of about two hours per week.

Earl Hale, the former executive director of Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, completes his one-year term on the board Dec. 31, creating the current opening. The new member will join Mary Gentry, a former educator and attorney, who recently retired from a 30-year legal career.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for someone who cares passionately about the community, but does not represent any specific constituency. Someone who sees the big picture, but is focused on practical solutions. Someone who respects elected officials and public servants, but is unafraid to ask the tough questions that ensure transparency in government.

We’re looking for independent thinkers eager to debate local issues, but just as eager to learn and understand how the world looks to those on the other side of the table.

No specific background – in government or journalism – is necessary. Any man or woman of any age, experience and ethnic heritage committed to investigate and discuss issues openly is encouraged to apply.

If that sounds like you, here’s how to send us a self-nomination.

It’s simple. Just send a letter describing yourself – education, work experience, civic engagement, etc. – and explain in some detail why you want to join the editorial board and what unique qualities you would bring to our deliberations.

Send that letter to Editorial Board, The Olympian, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia, WA 98506. Or email it to letters@theolympian.com, putting “Editorial Board” in the subject line.

The deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10.

Reaching a consensus among board members on the wide variety of issues that come before The Olympian’s editorial board is an imperfect science. But those who have served have found it an inspiring and thought-provoking experience.

We look forward to hearing from you.