Brian Sandford: Think there’s no common ground? Think again

The Nevada Appeal’s columnists are doing something today that we’ve never done before. We’re all meeting in the same room, at Red’s Old 395 Grill.

We’re gathering to share our thoughts about why we contribute to the Appeal, as well as our experiences. Among those set to appear are Marilee Swirczek, Bob Thomas, Abby Johnson, Chuck Muth (he’s coming to Carson City from Las Vegas), Lisa Keating, Sam Bauman, Lori Schaefer and Guy W. Farmer, who apparently won’t be live-tweeting the event (see his column on the previous page).

We’re meeting not to discuss our differences, but to share our life experiences and get to know one another. It’s my treat both financially and literally, as I’m grateful to our contributors and want to show them personal appreciation. We’ll continue to have such meetings annually.

Our news pages, which account for the vast majority of our paper, are meant to inform you. Our opinion pages, however, have a vastly different role. You might strongly agree with one columnist’s opinion and strongly disagree with another’s. The same goes for our letters to the editor, which often reflect reactions to things our columnists or other letter writers say. You might listen to a certain radio station, subscribe to a certain publication or choose to talk with certain people who exclusively share your viewpoint. If we offer differing viewpoints on our opinion pages, it’s because they’re the ultimate repository when it comes to viewpoints.

It’s important to make the distinction between news and opinion, because our newspaper isn’t designed to make anyone angry. But if you choose to read the opinion pages, it might. And that’s healthy. As I’ve said before, your strong reactions are the lifeblood of those pages. That’s why I’ve had lunch with many of you well before I’ve had lunch with our collection of columnists.

As I’ve said to many of you during phone or personal conversations, I want the Appeal to be smart. Your contributions — via phone call, letter to the editor or personal visit — certainly are, and I am grateful for them.

We’re going to find common ground during our columnist lunch today. I encourage you to do the same, as you’ll ultimately find you’ve got more in common with those who might be politically different than you might think.

Editor Brian Sandford can be reached at


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