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OUR OPINION: The Times testing new columnists, cartoonists

Study after study shows that true opinion leaders in a community turn to newspapers for in-depth analysis of local, state and world issues.

The pages of newspapers are the best positioned to move past the 30-second soundbite of television and radio. Likewise, community newspapers often bring the most news about local issues, issues often ignored by larger, metro publications that occasionally like to dip into the area, cover a big story and then return to their ivory towers an hour or more away.

In Marengo County, we have three community newspapers, two of which bring you local commentary every week &8212; or in our case, every day &8212; we publish.

At The Times, we want to challenge our readers with insightful commentary about issues that affect us from a state, national and world perspective, as well as bring you commentary about what is happening right here in our communities.

We believe we have a good mix of opinions on this page, better than any of our two competitors, but good is not enough for us.

For that reason, we have compiled a group of test columnists that will run for the next few weeks. These include Woman to Woman, Ann Coulter, Richard Reeves and William F. Buckley. These are some of the leading syndicated columnists &8212; two conservatives, one liberal and one column written by two women from both sides of the political spectrum.

We&8217;re also testing a few new editorial cartoonists: Stuart Carlson, Jack Higgins, Glenn McCoy and Jim Borgman.

Furthermore, we want more local columnists. We would like to see more people from our community write columns about the things that are most important to them, whether that be a political issue or an upcoming event.

Let us know what you think. Call our publisher, Sam Hall, at 289-4017 or e-mail him at sam.hall@demopolistimes.com. We want you to be involved in your community newspaper.