SPEAKING OF NEWSPAPERS: Expect lively, broad refinery discussionAs the world becomes more Internet savvy, we’re finding a growing number of people are reading electronic versions of The Daily Telegram. We can tell from registration data that most reside in the Twin Cities and the greater Madison area, although others are scattered nationwide.
By: Ron Brochu, The Daily Telegram
As the world becomes more Internet savvy, we’re finding a growing number of people are reading electronic versions of The Daily Telegram. We can tell from registration data that most reside in the Twin Cities and the greater Madison area, although others are scattered nationwide.
Those readers have expanded the scope of input into the newspaper, particularly via letters to the editor.
Before the Internet gained broad popularity, we received some letters from outside of the region, but generally they were form letters sent to dozens, if not thousands, of newspapers. They primarily addressed issues of broad interest.
Today, communications are much more topic-specific, originating from former residents who remain very interested in Superior and Douglas County. A fair number include personal notes saying they’d love to return here if only they could find employment in their chosen field.
Recent letters suggest outside input is likely to explode in coming months. We’re starting to receive citizen input on the potential Murphy Oil refinery expansion, much of it from people who list Madison as their home. Some letters are from local residents attending UW-Madison. We’re unsure about others, although it’s not out of the question to suspect some originate from formal letter-writing campaigns.
A couple of things are certain:
• Because The Daily Telegram is Superior’s local newspaper, many individuals and groups will seek to voice their views on our Web and print pages, where they hope to tip public opinion.
• Because Madison is Wisconsin’s hub of liberalism and environmentalism, it will be the source of many letters expressing concern about oil refining and the environmental impacts.
• Because Superior has suffered from a dearth of good-paying local jobs, the project may receive stronger support here than elsewhere in the state and nation.
At this stage in the process, it’s too early for The Telegram to take an editorial stand on an expansion. That’s because Murphy Oil hasn’t secured a supply partner nor submitted a plan to regulators. Unless facts and figures are on the table, we feel it would be irresponsible to lean one way or the other.
But that’s only our opinion. Others have every right to make their feelings known. And we have an obligation to open our pages for a full and open discussion.
Undoubtably, some people will take offense to assertions made by one side or the other. Some may feel The Telegram should stifle one side or the other. Please recognize up front that we will do no such thing.
Hopefully, an “open market” of opinion will prevail, and we will receive a fair representation of letters from all sides. We encourage everyone to participate, no matter what your viewpoint.