The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is making a change in its approach to editorials — one that could set the standard for local editorial pages. Until now, many editorial pages wrote editorials on national issues as well as local issues.
But the AJC plans to publish fewer editorials, and avoid hot-button ideological issues.
Hot-button issues are what newspapers are supposed to address.
Explaining the move, the AJC’s editor, Julia Wallace, told the New York Times’ Richard Perez-Pena, “We have moved to a different kind of editorial that’s much more about community issues and less about, ‘let me opine on national issues.’ ”
What’s potentially troubling is the fact that the top editors and the publisher are now joining the editorial board. Traditionally, editorial boards have been kept separate from actual news gathering.
The lesson for PR functions is their approach to editorials has to adjust, especially for smaller market newspapers. Make sure you have a strong local angle to an issue. Check out the Times article, “Editorial Voice of an Influential Atlanta Newspaper May Move to the Right.”