The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 10, 2009

Larry Smith: Here's a chance to share your views


As regular readers know, Aya Fubara Eneli’s column anchored this spot in our Sunday Viewpoint pages for some time.

Aya and her family recently made a big move to the Houston area where the days are warmer than Illinois in January — although there still are those pesky hurricanes to worry about.

Anyway, Aya did a great job giving readers something to think about week after week. She drew on her personal experience, which is the key to successful columns.

Lots of people consider taking up writing at some point in their lives. From the outside, it admittedly looks pretty easy. Start the computer. Open a blank file. Write.

But that sequence can be deceiving. The blank page can be intimidating. A writer must have all of his or her thoughts lined up, research complete and a finishing point in mind before hitting the first key. Then, after all that hard work, writing might be easy — and that’s only when the writing gods smile on you.

Walter “Red” Smith, a great sportswriter who died in 1982, once said: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

While we’re not looking for contributors willing to shed blood, we are interested in talking to people who want to contribute to this page on a regular basis.

We’re looking for people who want to write about local issues facing our communities. Strong opinions are welcome as long as they are substantiated with facts. It’s easy to sit back and complain about the world. It’s much more difficult to do it from a position of knowledge and with the intent of offering practical solutions.

We’re not really interested in political commentary, at least about the national scene. We already offer plenty of sources for that. We really want to hear local voices on local issues.

If you’re among those who might want to share their ideas with others, put together at least three proposed columns of 500 words or so each and send them my way. E-mail — lsmith@dancomnews.com — works best, but the U.S. Postal Service still delivers letters to me c/o Commercial-News, P.O. Box 787, Danville IL 61834-0787.

We can’t promise we’ll use every submission, but we will read every one. Who knows? Maybe the next Red Smith is out there waiting to bleed a little.

‘Potter’ returns

Like many people — young and old — I plan to see the newest film in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.”

The story has progressed to the point where Potter — a young wizard engaged in a battle against evil for the two of you who might not know — is a young man.

As a teenager, the Potter character learns as he goes along, trying new things to see whether they work.

Running a newspaper is a lot like that these days. We’re always looking at what we present to readers — both in print and on our Web site — and considering ways to make it better.

We hope readers like a few of the recent tweaks we’ve made in our content. We hope to add more in-depth stories in the weeks ahead as well as a greater variety of topics covered both by our in-house staff and other sources.

Let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for reading the Commercial-News.

Larry Smith is editor of the Commercial-News. Contact him at lsmith@dancomnews.com.