How the Concord Monitor brought new voices to the opinion section by hosting a writing workshop series


Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Instead of simply extending the opportunity to be part of the opinion section, why not meet with folks and give them the tools to join the conversation?

Question: What problem were you trying to solve, and why was that problem strategically important to your organization?

A: At the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor, our opinion section comprises submissions from readers and community members.

On any given day, you could find a My Turn (our term for opinion essays or op-eds) about staff shortages from the head of the NH Health Care Association right next to a debate in the Letters to the Editor about where the city’s new middle school should be located. A vetted forum for a range of thoughtful, reasoned perspectives and ideas, the opinion section serves a vital role in our local newsroom by giving people the space to share their voices with other readers.

We always talk about how we want more voices, new voices, to be part of the opinion section, and we do share that message out often. But unfortunately, inviting participation doesn’t eliminate the barriers some people may face when trying to get engaged in civic dialogue. Putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) can often be a daunting task that begs the question, ‘Where do I even start?’ So, we decided to go one step further and give people the resources to start writing.

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