The "Virtual" Editorials

by Dennis Foster  

     Beginning in the late spring of 2005, I participated in the Arizona Daily Sun's virtual editorial board.  We were virtual in that we participated via e-mail and never actually met, nor collaborated.  The editor would pick a topic each week and the members (there were six of us) would write 200 word editorials that would run in the Sunday paper, opposite the newspaper's editorial on the same topic.  It was actually quite a lot of work, if one wanted to get well-informed on these topics.  And, it was quite a challenge to put your thoughts into so short a space without sacrificing a lot of content.
     Still, I approached this opportunity with three objectives in mind - make them readable, take a libertarian stand whenever possible, and try to promote market alternatives when applicable.  I would like to think that I was reasonably successful.  At the time, I was interested in starting up a web site, and these weekly essays helped convince me to create this web site.
     The essays are as they appeared in the Daily Sun, although I have taken this opportunity to add in some commentary in the form of an introduction and an afterword for each.  I would reference the web site for these Daily Sun editorials, but the paper charges for access ($3 per article/editorial) to their archive.  I can appreciate the notion that they believe this can earn them revenues, but I think that this policy is short-sighted.  Allowing unfettered access to their past articles enhances the relevance of the Daily Sun as a source of information.  Keeping their work product behind a wall is akin to the way in which Apple Computer did business, before it got clobbered by Microsoft.

E1 (May 8, 2005) - Should Flagstaff firefighters have to submit to drug testing?
E2 (May 15, 2005) - What should the Flagstaff Unified School District do to raise graduation rates?
E3 (May 22, 2005) - Should the issue of gay marriage be separated from civil unions on a statewide referendum?
E4 (May 29, 2005) - How should the U.S. proceed against "stateless" terrorists?
E5 (June 5, 2005) - Should the city maintain historic Route 66 motels?
E6 (June 12, 2005) - Should women be treated differently than men in the military?
  [E7 - The editor was away this week and the virtual board got a pass.]
E8 (June 26, 2005) - What should the city (Flagstaff) do to attract businesses?
E9 (July 3, 2005) - Should the Grand Canyon's bus transit plan be mandatory?
E10 (July 10, 2005) - What kind of judge would make a good choice for the Supreme Court?
E11 (July 17, 2005) - Were the changes to the AIMS test good or bad?
E12 (July 24, 2005) - What lessons can be learned from the Valerie Plame affair?
E13 (July 31, 2005 ) - Should the Mountain Line service be expanded?
E14 (August 7, 2005) - How should federal funds for public works (Highway Bill) be appropriated?
E15 (August 14, 2005) - What questions are fair to ask of Judge Roberts?