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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: Free food! The second Missourian Readers Board is about to begin

By Tom Warhover
August 20, 2010 | 3:25 p.m. CDT

Dear Reader,

Free food!


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Here’s an invitation to join the second edition of the Missourian Readers Board.

The purpose of the board is simple: to learn from you and for you to learn a bit more about the newspaper.

The board will meet once a month through May.

Members hear about whatever topic they ask about, whether it’s how graphics are made or new developments in the news business. Then they talk about whatever is on their minds.

It’s a chance to tell editors how to make a better Missourian.

The first Readers Board asked for a more readable type size for Vox. (Done.) Members generally agreed that requiring names with comments on was a good thing. (Thanks.)

Mainly, though, they asked questions. Lots of questions. Some of them made me squirm; most of them made me think.

So I hope you’ll consider applying. This year, assistant city editor Kathleen Pointer will be the coordinator. You can reach her at

Oh, and the free food? The hors d’oeuvres were brought in by Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant. Good stuff. The night crew in the newsroom loved Readers Board gatherings because they got the leftovers.


Another political season approaches. (Do they ever end?)

I’m going to be watching especially for claims without substance, outrageous leaps of logic and outright obfuscations.

Finding them “out there” will be too easy, so I’ll confine myself to my own news source: the Missourian.

A first, fairly simple example ran this week in a guest opinion column.

Aimee Gutshall wrote about her experience of being asked to sign a petition in favor of the referendum against puppy mills.

She declined, and her point was a good one: Know what you’re signing when someone sticks a clipboard in front of you.

There are plenty of arguments about the so-called puppy mill act, including what to call it. I expect we’ll hear most of them before the November election.

(I really haven’t thought enough about the issue to be of one mind or the other.)

“I advocate for agriculture,” Gutshall wrote, “believe in its practices and know the referendum disguised to help pets is the first step for the Humane Society of the United States to get into Missouri with the ultimate goal of eliminating livestock production.”

Big claim. How do I assess it? I can’t.

There’s nothing in the column to suggest the Humane Society ever actually said this. I could find a position on the society’s website concerning ending livestock production.

Gutshall could still be correct. I’d just like to see a fact or two to back her assertion.