To the editor:
Ms. Routly described the challenges New England media outlets are experiencing to recruit conservative editorial voices. (Talking Cure 11-18/2020). May I suggest a different perspective on their plight? Conservatives don’t see themselves as editorial arm candy to be shown off at the next regional newspaper conference. Or a box to be checked or as the token conservative. The deeper foundational issue is the employment practices and composition of the news/editorial staff and their work product. After reading the editorials and articles maybe conservatives say to themselves, “I’m not welcomed here.”
Conservatives are at ease with organizations where they periodically see and hear similar opinions to those they hold. They will share their opinions more freely to media who hire their kindred spirits to produce stories and editorials.
Seven Days should conduct a confidential poll of news staff and editorial employees of Seven Days, VtDigger, and Vermont Public Radio. How many consider themselves conservative, served in the armed forces, donated to Republican presidential candidates, belong to the local fish and game club, fly an American flag, watch NASCAR, support local police, etc.? The results might illuminate blind spots and recruitment opportunities. It could lead to an increase in readership and advertising dollars too.
For the second consecutive presidential election, the media polls were off and missed “shy” conservative voters. Vermont media should do a better job ensuring their opinions are heard and debated in Vermont’s marketplace of ideas.
The author is a former Vermont State Senator. This letter was printed in Seven Days on 11/18/2020.