We need you to help improve the DTH

UPDATE: Join the Community Feedback Board on Facebook. 

Hello again, OrangePolitics!

If you've been around OP for awhile, you probably know me. I'm a long-time reader/occaisional poster. Now I've been chosen to be the next editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. We need you to help the DTH improve.

One of my main goals next year is to make the DTH the resource that you, the residents of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County, want and need. With the pullbacks at other local media outlets, I want to help fill the gap by becoming the most thorough, expansive, relevant and accessible news source in the region. I want the DTH to provide more perspective on the issues and thoroughly understand the historical context and significance of events.

Read my platform to get a little bit of a sense of my ideas. 

A lot of our improvement is going to come online. We're getting a brand new Web site, which I'm really excited about. The most noticeable improvement will be using tags to make topic pages, providing a tailored resource for the issues you care about. We're also going to hire a community manager to reach out to you online and provide another outlet for your blog posts, pictures, videos and comments. Read the latest blog post from Sara Gregory, newly hired to be our managing editor for online, about her goals.

The next city editor and I also plan to be a real presence in the community. You'll see us at events around town, and we'll be asking you about what you want to see in our pages. 

We need to bring more community opinions of our coverage in general into the newsroom. Read this column, which ran today, to get a little bit of a sense of how I want to do this. I strongly, strongly encourage you to get involved with the Community Feedback Board, and I can't wait to get planning the Unconference/CopyCamp for Orange County. And if you're interested in being the public editor, or even submitting occaisional columns, please let me know!

For now, follow me on Twitter, post a comment on this site or shoot me an e-mail (amdunn AT email DOT unc DOT edu). I know you want what I want: to make the DTH the best source of local news in the country. We'll need your input to get us there.



Any thoughts on what you'd like to see from the DTH next year?

Here are my thoughts. Do not edit letters to the editor, or if you do at least ask the letter writers permission first.  A couple months ago the DTH printed a letter to the editor complaining that an earlier letter written by that same person had been edited and printed without permission.  That didn't surprise me though because a couple months before that, a person I work with had the exact same thing happen to her.  She wrote a letter, it got printed, I saw her and said "Hey, you had a letter printed, that's great" and she replied with annoyance "Yeah, and they left out parts of it that changed the meaning."So print letters fully.  Shorten the maximum length to fit letters in if necessary, but print them fully, or else get permission to edit them.You may ask "Where will we get the space to print letters fully?"  Here's where.  Cut down drastically on the editorials.  For crying out loud, the DTH has three editorials every day!!!  That is at least two too many.  About half of the DTH's entire editorial section is given over to editorials.  That's way too much.  My favorite thing about The Chapel Hill News is opening up to the editorial section and seeing all those letters to the editor.  The DTH could have that too.  If they don't get many letter submissions now then perhaps it's because they print so few letters and then edit some of the ones they do print. Here's another suggestion.  Get rid of the horoscopes.  It's 2009.  Do we still need to pretend that the position of the planets at birth has an effect on what a persons day will be like?  For that matter, get rid of all superstition and pseudoscience nonsense in the DTH.  After all, we're talking about the student newspaper of a university that is supposed to be world quality.

You could also limit the letter submissions to so many words for printed edtion but offer letters over the max to be printed in the online edition. You could also waive the max on printed letters you deemed really important, you probably would want to  use the waiver sparingly. I think the DTH is one of best college papers out there. Thx

Few read long letters (or OP posts), but many read short ones.

Some people won't read anything long because unfortunately we have a shorter attention span than we used to.  But the letters to the editor of the DTH are usually shorter than the DTH editorials and always shorter than the DTH columns by columnists.  I doubt that the people that won't read long letters to the editor will read even longer editorials or columns.


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