Blogs > Tell the Editor

A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The scoop on the "editorial staff"

A reader of my March 7 Sunday column, The Editor's Column, posted a comment there suggesting that the "editorial staff" reply to readers' comments on our Editorial Page editorials using their "real names."

This would be my reply: All of the daily Our View editorials are written by Editorial Page Editor Dan Smith and me together. I am the sole writer of The Editor's Column on Sundays and the Tell the Editor blog.

That's all there is, two people. Our names are in the masthead above each day's editorial in print. On the Web site, www.MorningJournal.com, we are listed in the Contact Us section, and my name and photo are on my column and blog.

We write 365 Our View editorials each year. I write The Editor's Column weekly. Responding to dozens of reader comments made over time on all of them isn't practical. We just say everything we have to say in each editorial or column, then stand aside and let readers have their say. We don't make or reply to comments on them.

However, my Tell the Editor blog is now the one easily accessible open door for readers to engage me in conversation about our news and opinion pages, and anything else. I welcome you to use it. There's no way I can miss seeing a comment sent to Tell the Editor.

11 Comments:

Anonymous miles said...

While I welcome this addition to the Journal's overall online engagement strategy I still think it necessary for the editors to engage in discussion with readers on the morning journal's own website. It would bring an air of legitimacy to the discussion to see the editor himself weighing in.

March 9, 2010 at 3:40 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

This is The Morning Journal's own Web site.

This is the editor himself weighing in. This is where everyone can find him all day, every day, without having to comb through through dozens of stories and comments to locate him.

March 9, 2010 at 7:03 PM 
Anonymous miles said...

I get that this page is for talking directly to the editor, but I am referring to the need for credibility to be brought to the discussion forum for morningjournal.com. spirited debate happens there frequently and it would be helpful for the stability of that debate to have an occaisional stance made by the mj editorial staff, especially when the debate is happening on the thread of the "our view" column or your very own editorial.
The open/transparent commenting on their editorials is a practice that the plain dealer columnists use on their website and it helps to see the positions develop as the debate goes on past the static column.

March 9, 2010 at 7:36 PM 
Blogger Dave said...

Editor,

Did you notice the Telegram posted every Elyria teacher's salary? Perhaps it is a little voyeuristic to have that much detail. But publishing the average total salary's of full-time teachers, assistant principals, and principals should be given the public. I am guessing the average gross salary for these groups is close to $60,000. And that is for less than 170 days in the classroom. Unfortunately, if you ask Lorain students; their impression from teachers is that low wages make it a bad job.

Also, ahead of the last levy you made a comment essentially stating test scores are improving. I think if you will look at the math OAT scores you will see they have been static over recent years.

I just wonder if there is too much of a cozy relationship between Journal staff and the school system. Lorain residents have seen their income cut by at least 25% in recent years. Should the 2/3 most "expensive" teachers see a 15% wage cut?

March 9, 2010 at 7:53 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Dave, as you requested, here's the broad numbers for Lorain off the state education department Web site:

http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/htbin/F2009-DISTRICT-PROFILE.COM?irn=044263+Lorain+City+SD+(Lorain)

March 9, 2010 at 10:48 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Also, here is the state education department's backgrounder on how to read all that information in the proper perspective.

http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=1214&ContentID=81682&Content=82450

March 9, 2010 at 10:52 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really did not answer Dave's question. Would the Journal publish salaries of school employees. The Chronicle also published city payrolls, and I suspect may go on to county payrolls. This is all public information and shows where our taxes go.

March 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

"Would the Journal publish salaries of school employees."

Don't see any pressing reason to do that for every individual. They just earn what their union contracts call for.

The state info cited above puts the average teacher pay just shy of $60,000 in Lorain. That's a few thousand dollars higher than average around Ohio, but then almost 86 percent of Lorain's teachers have 10 or more years of experience, compared to only about 60 percent in other similar districts, the state figures show.

March 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM 
Blogger Dave said...

I agree with both you and Richard about the need for civil discourse. Civility is getting harder to find in sports, politics, you name it. Les Levine also mentioned the problem in yesterday's Journal.

So, could we use socialized medicine or some such term instead of Obamacare? Obamacare sounds demeaning. And Richard might want to review some of the more strident articles he wrote during Bush's election. When the left is on top the right is "harsh". But when the right is on top the left is "harsh". We all tend to go for the jugular.

Civility aside, Richard thinks "the bill already was covered by the Hyde Amendment and therefore abortions were precluded from federal funding..." Still, he is glad Obama gave the extra assurance (the Stupak Executive Order.) I think the bill covers abortions and the EO is meaningless. Now we are all thinking and that isn't good. We should have known before the bill was law, and we certainly should know now. However, the subterfuge has been/is extremely effective.

Why not canvass our Congressmen to see what they "think". Anything but a "yes" or "no" should indicate deception or failing to understand a key point in the legislation's process.

The answer was known by some for weeks. If nothing else, this has been a secretive process. This seeds distrust. Is healthcare for all more important than acting in a manner that establishes faith in our governmental process? Personally, I think not. But I am probably in the minority.

March 29, 2010 at 6:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chronicle posted the spread sheet of the teachers' salaries in Lorain schools online. The Elyria salaries were not posted online, only in the paper. If you want to see the Lorain teachers' salaries by teacher, look at the Chronicle online, and search for the article from March 7th, titled,
"Elyria Schools cuts teachers, but payroll grows". You will find the link at the end of the first section of the article. But, please, don't give the teachers static about what they make. According to a teacher friend of mine, the Elyria teachers have had one angry parent after another lashing out at them for what they earn in a year. Their contracts are negotiated by the union. If you want to ask for cuts, examine the administrators' salaries and costs. That's where the real pork is. Just my opinion.

March 31, 2010 at 1:56 PM 
Blogger Dave said...

I only wanted to know if my $60,000 averge salary guess was accurate. How that is distributed to the teachers is between the union and management. I am sure most teachers deserve their salary. However, it is ashame that most of our children believe teachers are underpaid, and therefore they want to avoid going into education. Students have no idea that teachers average $60,000/year.

I believe we should insist on more than a 6 hour school day. My cousin in PA has students for over 7 hours and has to prep for 5 1/2 hours of teaching. In Lorain 4 1/2 hours is common. Maybe 4 1/2 hours of academic classes is enough in the suburbs. But our students can use another 30 minutes. Add that to the school day and put all staff in the classroom drilling grade schoolers in basic math - addition, division, fractions...- and you might see math scores improve. And why don't we keep the school doors open 180 days instead of the close to 170 days we now have?

Administrators work through most of the summer. And principals in particular have a very difficult job. I think it is better to look at the effectiveness of the individual when you look to cut costs.

April 2, 2010 at 10:39 AM 

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