Opinion section/page: Division A
First place: James DeArruda, The Standard-Times
About this entry: The opinion section offers a highly thought out glimpse into community issues and offers a wonderful platform for all local voices.
Read online: The Standard-Times Opinion
Follow The Standard-Times on Twitter @southcoasttoday
The opinion section about the vote on a proposed New Bedford casino represents true community commitment. Not only is it clear that the editorial board itself has wrestled seriously with the issue, but it has taken the effort to provide a wide array of local voices to help voters come to their own conclusions. This is what newspapers should do.
Second place: Staff, The State Journal-Register
About this entry: The State Journal-Register’s offers readers a special, and incredibly thorough, look at issues of state government that but still manages to keep a strong local focus.
Read online: The State Journal-Register Opinion
Follow The State Journal-Register on Twitter @SJRbreaking
These pages display the kind of command of state government issues readers deserve to expect from the capital city’s newspaper. It is relentlessly local and well informed.
Third place: Nathan Crabbe, Gainesville Sun
About this entry: “With our redesign July 2015, we launched a Sunday section devoted to journalism of opinion. Each week we devote six full pages to locally submitted columns, letters, a locally drawn editorial cartoon, and our own editorial, along with some state-level content anchored by fact-checking Politifact. It is a significant investment in community engagement around big topics of local interest. Based on feedback from our reader advisory board, which Nate moderates, we reinstalled the ‘Sound Off’ column that appears on the back page of the section each week, curating anonymous comments left on a voicemail box. It has proven to be among our most popular features and has generated tips for many stories.” — Douglas Ray
Read online: Gainesville Sun Opinion
Follow Nathan on Twitter @nathancrabbe
These sections show a stunning commitment to locally produced opinion journalism. Few papers of any size can match it.