We’ve had many successes at the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal over the past year, but the events of this week—the demonstrations over police killings and violence—have brought one realization very much into focus: I have failed our city, and our readers, on a very basic level.
I failed to build up a leadership team and corps of journalists that fully reflects the diversity of the community we cover.
We have made some strides. This week, thanks to the support of the Groundtruth Project’s Report for America initiative, we added two Spanish-speaking reporters to expand our coverage of West Long Beach and North Long Beach.
But it isn’t enough. We must do more. We need journalists and leaders who bring other perspectives into our coverage, who can help us find stories and help us direct our coverage to better tell the story of this great city.
I would like to announce one step we are taking today to accomplish that goal.
The Long Beach Post is forming an editorial board—specifically a Community Editorial Board—and please consider this your invitation to apply for a seat at the table.
Our editorial board will have 7 members, including representation from the Long Beach Post company, along with community members. By design, community members will hold a supermajority position on the board. Additionally, community board members will serve a one-year term, providing the opportunity for new and emerging voices to have a consistently refreshed seat at the table.
Board members will be welcomed and encouraged to write opinion columns during the year on issues and subjects in which they have a personal interest, experience or expertise. Members will serve as advisers for any editorials that we publish as the official position of the Long Beach Post, with the expectation that members will bring forward a diversity of opinions, viewpoints and dissenting positions for our consideration.
We also intend to publish dissenting opinions. We do not expect the board to be unanimous in consideration of each position and we want to provide the community an opportunity to hear informed rebuttals or counterarguments to those of the majority of the board.
This will be a diverse board. Members will be drawn from different life journeys, different parts of the city, different socioeconomic experiences. To that end, we will be offering a modest stipend to board members to compensate them for their time and labor in this advisory role.
Some requirements for editorial board candidates:
- Candidates must live in Long Beach. We are seeking people who represent different parts of the community, different professional and personal backgrounds, and different political and generational perspectives.
- Candidates should be prepared to disclose any potential conflicts of interest—or the appearance of conflicts of interest—and to recuse themselves from any conversations or decisions where those interests may interfere. Those conflicts may also become public as part of our commitment to transparency.
- Candidates should be available to meet either virtually or in person at the Post’s offices in Downtown Long Beach no more than once a month, and be available for occasional conference calls. Most communication among the editorial board members will occur digitally.
- Candidates will be expected to have mutual respect for a diversity of voices and opinions, and an admiration for the fact our community is made up of individuals with vastly different experiences, backgrounds and opportunities—all of whom are equitable in the richness of our city.
- The most important requirement of all is an intellectual curiosity about the community and a desire and the wherewithal to express that curiosity.
The Post’s role in the community is two-fold: to accurately and vigorously cover news, which as the largest news organization in the city, we accomplish each day. But a second function is to weigh in on important local matters, to hold leaders accountable, to ask difficult questions, and perhaps most critically, to provide our readers and our community with informed positions and opinions for their consideration.
It is a rarity today for media organizations to invite community members to have this kind of role in local journalism, but it’s something I believe adds value to everyone working at the Post and to our community.
Our editorial board members will be in a unique position: an opportunity to participate in the debate on top issues of the day, to connect with decision makers and civic leaders, and to be part of the media organization with the greatest reach and largest readership in Long Beach.
Applying is simple: In no more than 500 words, tell me about you. Tell me what you think about Long Beach and where we’re going as a community. I want to know that you read the Post, certainly, but I also want to know what matters to you. How would you work with a group of people you may have never met and may never interact with outside of this board? How would you work to compromise, to respect differing viewpoints you may not agree with, and how would you handle it when your position may not be shared with the majority?
If you’re interested in joining our editorial board, please email me at [email protected]. The deadline is Friday, June 19.