A primary election is about to occur in Texas and newspapers around the state have concluded interviewing candidates for federal, state and local political offices.
I can recall a time when I did that, too. It was a full-immersion learning experience for me.
We would summon candidates into our editorial board rooms and grill them on issues pertinent to the offices they sought. We would pepper them with questions about their political history, on statements they made out loud and in public. We would inquire about their previous public service experience. We also would ask how that experience came to bear on the office they sought.
Through it all, though, I managed always — without fail! — to learn a little more about the community I served as editor of opinion pages, whether it was in Beaumont at the Enterprise or up yonder in the Texas Panhandle when I worked at the Amarillo Globe-News. Indeed, my learning experience began earlier than that, at the Oregon City Enterprise-Courier, where my journalism career got its start.
Through it all, I always learned something about the community where I worked and which I sought to serve as editor of the newspaper’s opinion pages. Back then, people would turn to the editorial page for a little bit of guidance, for some advice from the newspaper on how to handle pressing community issues. Or they would turn to our pages just to find one more reason to disagree with whatever opinion we sought to foist on our readers.
It was a learning experience to be sure, one that I always anticipated at the front end of the interview process. I always appreciated what I learned at the end of it.