Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: New Lancaster newspaper editorial policy; Constitution Day

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Sep 16, 2014 3:04 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

The media landscape has changed a great deal over the past 10 years.  Perhaps, print media or newspapers have seen the most significant changes.

It used to be that almost every American city or town had their own daily newspaper.  Many cities had two or even more.

However, as more digital options became available to news consumers, many turned away from traditional media.  In response, many newspapers took steps to save money like limiting the number of pages, consolidating or even folding altogether.

Lancaster had two separate daily newspapers up until just a few years ago when the Intelligencer Journal and New Era combined their operations.  When they did, the papers maintained their traditional editorial page voices in the one newspaper.  The New Era was conservative and the Intelligencer Journal progressive.

That changed last week when Lancaster Newspapers announced they would offer only one independent editorial page.

Appearing on Wednesday's Smart Talk to explain the move are Barbara Roda, Executive Editor and Suzanne Cassidy, Editorial Page Editor for Lancaster Newspapers.

Also, Wednesday is Constitution Day.  Kerry Sautner, Vice President of Education at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia appears on the program to discuss the nation's most sacred document.

Lancaster Newspaper 9.17.14.jpg

Suzanne Cassidy and Barbara Hough Roda

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:48

    A Listener emails:

    The stated letters to the editor policy has a word limit of about 200 words. Why does the payer not adhere to this policy? Some letters are very long opinion statements that are not connected to any local or national news event.

    Will changes happen here also?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:48

    Beth emails a comment:

    I think it has been extremely useful to have multiple sides of topics in our hands. There are many times I have read opinions that I might not have sought out. But they were in my hands, and I read them.

    We are a community with many opinions. Please keep that.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:49

    Matt from Gettysburg emails:

    Please ask your guests about their newspaper's decision to publish an extremely offensive editorial cartoon about a week ago:

    How was such a tone-deaf, historically illiterate, white-privileged cartoon ever even CONSIDERED for publication? Only out-and-out racists would find such a cartoon appropriate. This would seem to contradict Scott's assumption that the editorial slant of Lancaster Newspapers is now "liberal."

    • Scott LaMar img 2014-09-17 09:12

      Just to clarify. That was not an assumption on my part that the editorial page would be liberal only. What I was pointing out is that there have been criticisms from conservatives in the community since the change that they were losing their voice. As stated on the program by the guests, the cartoon was inappropriate and they regret publishing it.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:50

    Joe emails a comment:


    It seems to me that any way you look at it this move decreases the opinion pages from three to two

    before one letters two editorial
    now one letters one editorial

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:51

    Edward emails:

    We love the new direction the paper is taking.

    Ending the very visible polarization on the editorial pages was a great idea and we hope it will lead to the elimination of the more extreme columnists.
    We need one good paper that will benefit all of the community.

    We read the local paper for in-depth local news; we can get all other news elsewhere 24/7.

    Good luck with this!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-17 08:55

    Richard from Mount Joy emails:

    I feel robbed of the intellectually stimulating content of the syndicated columnists. For me, these columns provided at least 50% of the value of the newspaper. To have liberal and conservative perspectives on a variety of national and international issues in the same issue of a newspaper has been wonderfully thought provoking. Now the editorial page is greatly weakened and less interesting. To rely on the online sources of these views is time consuming and inefficient.

    Your desire to lessen political polarization is good. But let your readers decide who among the syndicated columnists is appropriately or inappropriately strident. Then unhappy readers can write to that columnist or share their reaction in a letter to the editor.