Two basic approaches have long characterized collections of commentary, whether in magazines and newspapers, on television, radio and podcasts, or on websites. Each approach has its advantages and its distinguished exemplars.
Some compendiums of opinion are what might be called "reviews." They are exchanges of arguments and analyses that share a basic outlook or point of view. They explore internal variations and disputes within a particular school of thought.
Other opinion platforms might be labeled "forums." These seek to host a wide range of often-conflicting perspectives. They are a kind of debating hall, where the only consistent agreement is about which topics are interesting and important enough to be worth disagreeing over.
Star Tribune Opinion has long chosen to be a "forum" in this sense and not a review — much less an echo chamber. Over the course of a week or two, we hope nearly every reader will encounter opinions on these pages that they heartily applaud and others that they cordially detest. And just as important, we hope they meet the views here of a wide assortment of people leading unfamiliar ways of life and speaking out of myriad experiences.
In the interest of continually expanding our search for that multiplicity of perspectives, we are today introducing a feature called "New Voices."
In this forum we are seeking out readers, thinkers and opinionated community members from across Minnesota — let us emphasize that; from every prairie expanse, every forested outpost, every rural hamlet and every big city scene — who want to share a slice of their lives, or who find their particular type of voice missing in the discourse surrounding the important topics of the day. It's 2021 and, maybe more than any time in recent memory, the quantity of compelling controversies is nearly overwhelming (climate change, COVID-19 and vaccines, criminal justice reform, health care, housing, immigration, inflation, jobs, etc., etc.). And the variety of voices that can shed distinctive light on these topics is just as great.
Under the "New Voices" label, every commentary will be written by a first-time contributor, in an effort to dive deeper and increase the diversity of thought on these pages and on our website. Our hope is that these first-time contributors will include both names you do and do not recognize: a new or emerging community leader, a college student, a business owner, your neighbor.
Like our regular content, New Voices commentaries will strive to be thoughtful and clear, expecting to inspire both agreement and criticism.
New Voices content will be found on our website (startribune.com/opinion) and periodically on the printed Opinion Exchange pages.
If, after reading the "New Voices" description above, you recognize yourself and wish to make your own voice heard, here's what you can do:
First, jump over to our online guide and take a look at what makes a good commentary (tinyurl.com/StribCommentary).
Then, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our submission page at tinyurl.com/SubmitNewVoices to send your commentary under 700 words, or your idea for one. If it is chosen, we'll help you through the editing process to make your first submission experience go as smoothly as possible.
Star Tribune Opinion strives to be a forum for differing perspectives from across the state. Your contributions will help New Voices succeed.