Tag Archives: opinion page

A Familiar Addition to the Opinion Page

At left you’ll notice a cartoon that will debut on Sunday’s Opinion page. The drawing may be unfamiliar to some, but the illustrator’s roots are deep enough here that I think you’ll find some connection with our new contributor.

The cartoon’s creator is Frank Shiers, Jr., a Bremerton native, Puget Sound radio personality and longtime cartoonist for a group of weekly newspapers that publish in Kitsap County. You also may recognize him from a story we published almost a year ago this weekend, after he landed a gig hosting KIRO FM’s “Northwest Nights” from 7 to 11 p.m. weeknights on 97.3.

Now he’s with us, and you’ll see his comment on a local issue each Sunday on this page, as well as the occasional state cartoon on weekdays.

Shiers joins current editorial page contributor Abell Smith, the Kingston illustrator who has filed a cartoon every other week since March. Having two local editorial cartoonists brings more community dialogue to our Sunday Opinion page. That’s right in line with the mission we’ve preached for years in the Sun, which we’ve emphasized more often recently as we’ve honed our focus on local news, sports and opinion.

As you’ll see in coming weeks, interpreting Kitsap’s issues and opinions comes easily to Shiers. Despite living on the east side and focusing his radio content on regional issues, Shiers, who was born at Harrison and is a 1973 grad of West High, still owns property in the area, visits Bremerton almost weekly, and has been published in various Kitsap County newspapers continuously since 1981. The law firm his father founded is still in Port Orchard, in fact.

But Shiers didn’t get the job because he’s from around here. His work shows a sense of the issues in Kitsap County and the state, and his comment can range from county politics to social issues or even sports, whether poking fun or provoking thought and emotion. He describes his political viewpoint as “center-right,” but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Today’s  volley from Shiers is on the state level, but expect to see commentary with a distinctly Kitsap focus in the coming weeks. I hope you enjoy having more local commentary on the Sunday Opinion page, whatever your political stripe may be, and as always let me know what you think in the comments below.

…On Another Note, an Abrupt Switch In the Comics
Many of you have noticed that on Sept. 20 a swap was made on our daily comics page, with the new strip “Freshly Squeezed” replacing “One Big Happy.”

The new cartoon is a new project by Ed Stein, a national syndicated editorial cartoonist and former Rocky Mountain News illustrator. It was chosen to bring a fresh voice to that page, something we don’t do often with a section that has its loyalists and is part of that morning tradition that makes a daily newspaper part of so many lives.

But none of you knew about the change until it happened. That’s not the place for a surprise, given that loyalty and routine that surrounds the comics, so I apologize for the lack of fair warning. My fault.

Bringing in the new strip was a chance to add something I thought comic fans would enjoy, and I made a decision to replace a strip I didn’t feel had the spark, wit or tradition some of our others do. Frankly, our focus as a newsroom now is on daily gathering of local content and long-range planning. There were days when we could spend time debating the popularity of various strips, surveying comic readers, never reaching a decision that pleases all, and trying to second-guess potential complaints — we no longer have that time. That doesn’t excuse the lack of notice, but I hope it explains the process.

We’re sticking with “Freshly Squeezed,” a storyline about a modern family dealing with a living situation too familiar these days that I hope resonates here. I hope you comics fans give it a fair chance, even as some of you smart from how the change was handled.

Goodbye to Garrison, at Least for Now

A bit of news for our Opinion page readers out there: This Sunday will be the last you’ll see of Garrison Keillor on the Sun’s pages for awhile.

We were notified today of his intention to take a break, during which he’ll finish a screenplay and begin writing a novel. There wasn’t a date given for him to resume writing the column, which we carry opposite George Will every Sunday and post to kitsapsun.com here. I’ve always been really pleased to have Keillor as a columnist. That’s not only because his style lets me reminisce for a moment about growing up listening to “A Prairie Home Companion” every Saturday night, but also because “The Old Scout“, whether or not you agree with his politics, added a dose of levity to a page that can become a little heavy on analysis of life in the nation’s capital.

Keillor’s syndicate has offered a mixed bag of replacement columnists, and Opinion Editor Jim Campbell and myself are hashing over those to decide whether we’ll pick one to fill the space, or trade writers for a while until we find a fit. You might remember that we lost Star Parker a few months ago as well, so maybe it’s time to reassess our line-up. I tend to be a little traditional when it comes to columnists our readers get used to, but it’s been 18 months since our last columnist shuffle and a little light housecleaning never hurt. I’ll take suggestions, but keep in mind that price, syndicate agreements and availability play a part in any decision. National newspaper columnists aren’t always marketed the same way as cafeteria food.

If you’ll miss Keillor, I’d recommend taking advantage of his absence to catch up on his novels. I read “Lake Wobegon Days” years ago, so I can’t really give an accurate review or even recall the storyline past the self-explanatory title any follower would pick up on. I read one called “Love Me” more recently, and I liked it. The character, a writer, gets out of Minnesota, gains a small bit of fame in New York, and goes through what I’d expect Garrison Keillor to have gone through when a Midwesterner comes to grips with big city life and the struggle that goes with heightened expectations. You see Keillor’s brain working as the main character thinks through life, and hear the old radio announcer’s voice on each page. Hopefully he’ll crank out that next book soon, and be back in the Sun before long.