Editor's note: This article is part of a special series celebrating National Newspaper Week Oct. 6-12. The Week was designated in 1940 as a way to recognize the importance of newspapers to their communities.
The Daily Herald always is interested in getting you engaged in the issues that affect your life.
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That engagement is the fundamental component of what makes self-government, democracy, work. It starts with providing you the information you need, as thoroughly and as objectively as possible. But it doesn't end there.
The Opinion page of the paper is all about putting to use the ideas and information provided elsewhere. It aims to move you, to challenge you. To inspire you to think about social and political issues in ways you may have never considered before and to put to the test beliefs you've grown comfortable with.
And, yes, sometimes it serves to reinforce your positions or just give you additional avenues of thought that deepen your commitments.
To achieve all this, the Daily Herald editorial page strives to provide a broad range of ideas about and approaches to the controversies of our time.
The foundation of the page is the "Our View" editorial at top. That editorial, representing the consensus viewpoint of an editorial board consisting of a team of top editors and company officers, is the one item on the page that represents the newspaper's stance on various issues. Unquestionably, we strive in that space to win you over to our position.
But in the selection and presentation of all other elements on the page, our aim is to provide a diverse assortment of opinions -- conservative, liberal and everywhere in between -- on the most important topics confronting our communities.
On national and international events, columnists provide authoritative commentary. It may well be that if conservative Michael Gerson doesn't sway you on Obamacare one day, liberal Froma Harrop will the next. Or, if neither, you may find it is moderate Kathleen Parker who ultimately captures your attention.
Whichever the case, one of our columnists -- which additionally include such nationally recognized authorities as Richard Cohen, Nat Hentoff, Donna Brazile and many more -- is sure to help you approach issues ranging from taxes to troop movements in new and provocative ways.
Taking a creative approach to important topics is a particular province of editorial cartoonists, who strive to encapsulate often complex ideas in a single visual image that may make your belly shake with laughter or your blood boil with rage. As with our writers, the Daily Herald seeks to present cartoons throughout each week that represent the gamut of political thinking.
But engagement in the arena of ideas involves more than just listening to the pontifications of assorted national pundits. So, we also include regular guest columns by individuals with expertise or experience on local and state topics.
And, more to the point, letters to the editor offer the opportunity to directly participate in the conversation, as your friends and neighbors -- and, we hope, sometimes you as well -- express themselves in their own words on whatever topics move them.
In the lobby of the Daily Herald's Arlington Heights Office Center, a mock locomotive decorated in conjunction with the village's 125th anniversary celebration declares itself "The Engine of Democracy." That is precisely how we see the role the Daily Herald and other newspapers play in society.
Driving the public conversation is critical to self-government, which simply cannot thrive without information and ideas and the deliberate involvement with them by all the members of the society.
• Jim Slusher joined the Daily Herald in 1989. He lives in Mount Prospect.