By Eric Frederick, NC Local Newsletter Editor
It’s an understatement to say these are challenging times for opinion writers.
Obviously, our society has rarely been this polarized. The internet has blurred the perceived lines between opinion and news content, which were never clear anyway to much of the audience. Misinformation is trusted by millions; solidly reported perspectives are dismissed as media propaganda. The supposed motives of mainstream media, always challenged, are questioned daily, perhaps more than ever.
Inside newsrooms, the definitions and rules of objectivity are changing. Much of the news reporting is becoming more interpretive. Threats are rife against those who report the news — let alone against those who bring provocative opinions and perspectives to the table — while social media make them more vulnerable.
And many news outlets are scaling back their production of opinion content. (See Gannett’s recent moves).
Given all of that, what’s it like to be a woman in her early to mid-20s, not long out of college, writing opinion content for daily metro newsrooms that are trying some new approaches?
That very small club includes Sara Pequeño and Paige Masten, members since last year of McClatchy’s North Carolina opinion team — Pequeño based at The News & Observer in Raleigh, and Masten at The Charlotte Observer.
I had the privilege of a frank chat with them the other day about what they do, and about their challenges.