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Editorial handbook: Who we are, what we do and how to use us.
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Editorial handbook: Who we are, what we do and how to use us.

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Our Opinion

The “house editorial” expresses the newspaper’s institutional position on a particular issue — that is, it summarizes a consensus of the paper’s editorial board. That’s why these columns are not signed. But if you have a question about a specific editorial, call us; the author will be available to speak with you about it. The News & Record and its sister paper, Winston-Salem Journal, share some regional, state and national editorials.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How do I increase my chances of getting a letter published?

Answer: It helps to get the basics right first: Follow the 200-word length limit. Include your address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached (for our eyes only). Write clearly and concisely. If you cite facts and statistics, please provide sources. Frame your thoughts logically and back your points with examples.

Also, please avoid trolling and name-calling; you can take issue with a person’s opinion, even passionately so, without attacking that person.

Finally, please do not present a form letter as your own.

We call these kinds of letters “astroturf” and they violate our ethical standards.

Q: How can I check on the status of my letter?

Answer: You may email us at edpage@greensboro.com or call us at 336-373-7010.

Q: How long does it take for a letter to published?

Answer: Generally, five to seven days — sometimes a little longer if letters volume is unusually heavy.

Q: Why are you so liberal?

Answer: We tend to think of ourselves as slightly left of center in our editorials, but we make a point to publish other points of view in letters, regular columns and guest columns. If the newspaper were a person, it would be unaffiliated. We have endorsed both Democrats and Republicans over the years and we expect that to continue.

Q: Is ANYONE in your department appreciative of all the great things Donald Trump did for our country? Or are all of you just constant critics?

Answer: We disagreed with many of President Trump’s policies. But we praised him when we thought praise was due, as when he moved to outlaw bump stocks and when he supported criminal justice reform. We'll do the same with President Biden.

Q: Why are most of the letters you publish liberal? Are you choosing not to print letters from conservatives?

Answer: On the contrary. We prefer variety in our letters. That makes them more interesting and useful to readers, but we can publish only the letters we receive. Please write us if the spirit moves you.

Q: When are you moving to Winston-Salem?

Answer: How about never? We are a Greensboro newspaper. We primarily cover Greensboro and Guilford County. This is our home and we intend to remain here.

News vs. editorial

The News and Editorial departments are two distinct and separate entities. Led by Executive Editor Andy Morrissey, the news staff covers issues and events in our community. Led by Executive Editorial Page Editor Allen Johnson, the Editorial department presents opinions and analysis. By design there’s a wall (at least figuratively speaking) between the news and opinion staffs, but we do collaborate. For instance, to gain a better understanding of the details of a story, an editorial writer may consult with the reporter who is covering it. So, we like to think that the wall has doors and windows.

Cartoons

Most of our editorial cartoons come from news services called syndicates. Sometimes these cartoons reflect the News & Record’s position on an issue; sometimes they don’t. But, by their nature they tend to be edgy and generate lots of reader response. On Saturdays, the News & Record devotes most of the page to cartoons in a feature called “Drawing Conclusions.”

Letters to the editor

Even in the age of Twitter, letters from our readers remain one of the most popular features of the opinion pages. They allow readers to react to what they’ve read in the paper, to agree or disagree with our columns and editorials; to raise questions or concerns about issues in the community; or even to debate with one another. The length limit for letters is 200 words (not counting the headline or the reader’s name and city) and each writer gets a maximum of two per month. Letters must be signed; as a firm rule, we don’t publish anonymous letters. All letters also are posted online and open to comment from other readers. Letters may be emailed to us at edpage@greensboro.com or may be submitted through our website (greensboro.com). Click on the Opinion tab and and then the link "Submit a letter."

Community Editorial Board members are News & Record subscribers who participate in discussions with the paper’s staff, suggest news and editorial topics and occasionally write columns. The community board meetings are held once a month and sometimes involve guest newsmakers as well.

Bottom Lines

Bottom Lines (formerly called Counterpoints) are reader-generated columns that are longer than letters but shorter than op-eds. They provide a platform for readers to react to articles in the News & Record, especially other columns and editorials. Bottom Lines also allow readers to address other issues that may require more space than a letter. The length limit is 350 words. Because space is more limited for Bottom Lines than for letters, the bar for acceptance also is higher. So Bottom Line submissions are more likely to be rejected than letters. Finally, Bottom Lines cannot rebut letters because that would constitute an uneven exchange. Only letters may react to letters.

Meet the players

Allen Johnson

Allen has been editorial page editor of the News & Record since 1999. Now, as executive editorial page editor, he also supervises the opinion pages of the Winston-Salem Journal. Allen is a Greensboro native and Dudley High School graduate who received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. He likes model trains, running (very slowly), reading, going to the movies and pulling for the Green Bay Packers.

Michael Scott

Mick Scott is editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal. He has worked at the Journal for 19 years, starting on the obituary desk and moving through the ranks in the editorial department. He was born in Winston-Salem but lived in many different places before returning to the city in 1988. He has won several awards for writing from the N.C. Press Association. He enjoys reading, the outdoors and wildlife.

Margaret Wimmer

Margaret Wimmer is a copy editor for the Greensboro News & Record and Winston-Salem Journal. After working at two Virginia papers for four years, she was hired as a designer/copy editor for the News & Record in 2006. In 2015, she began to also design and edit the Journal. She has a degree in journalism and mass communication from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. She has won several awards for design from the N.C. Press Association.

More online

An evolving version of this user’s guide will be available as a permanent feature at greensboro.com. You can continue to ask questions and we will add more features over time. Send your questions to edpage@greensboro.com.

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