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One of the most difficult things an editor has to deal with is the use of anonymous sources.

At metropolitan and national papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times they're used routinely and, for the most part, with good reason. Criminal activity, corruption or people's lives may be at stake, and the source may be risking their career and possibly even their own life to pass information on.

But at community newspapers like the Globe Gazette, the use of anonymous sources should be a very rare occurrence. In the last couple of weeks, we've done it twice.

The Globe Gazette's policy for publishing information from anonymous sources is simple: there must be a minimum of two people with first-hand knowledge of the incident or information and those people must have a proven need to remain unknown to the public. 

I consider allowing a source to remain anonymous to be the most serious covenant a journalist makes, and at the Globe Gazette, it is not undertaken lightly. In both instances I felt the information we received was of enough value to warrant publishing and the potential harm to those who came forward great enough to shield them.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this.

Where is Celebrations?

Readers may have noticed last week when our Breast Cancer Awareness section came out that we moved our Celebrations pages (weddings, anniversaries, thank yous, in memoriams) to the main news section.

That was not a one-time only deal. You'll see it this week, too, and every Sunday going forward.

I wanted to move it for a couple of reasons. I always thought that pushing some happy community news so far back in the paper made it easier to miss, and after all, it's called Celebrations for a reason.

Secondly, I have a bit of an obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to the flow of a newspaper. I like it to make sense to the reader and the C section frankly made no sense. It went from weddings and engagements to lifestyle columns to education news to business and a feature page thrown in at the end for good measure.

Today's edition reflects a better flow, I think. It's not perfect, because as I've written before and told those who've visited me – ads dictate the size and sometimes the layout of the paper – but I think it makes for more intuitive reading.

Making that move also had me considering what elements of the paper people are reading most and what ones are taking up valuable space that shouldn't be.

This is where I need your help. I've put together a very short survey of questions about what you'd like to see in the print edition of the paper. For those who are able to go online and complete it, you can find it here: https://bit.ly/31vGyiv

But I've talked to enough of you to know that not everyone is on the internet.

So, I am publishing the questions here. Those of you who want to answer can simply jot them down on a slip of paper, send them in to me via mail (Jaci Smith, Globe Gazette, 300 N. Washington Ave., Mason City, IA 50402) or you can drop them off at the front desk if you're happening by the office.

QUESTION 1: HOW OFTEN DO YOU WORK ON THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

  • Every day

  • Occasionally

  • Rarely

  • Never

QUESTION 2: HOW OFTEN DO YOU READ THE ACES ON BRIDGE?

  • Every day

  • Occasionally

  • Rarely

  • Never

QUESTION 3: HOW OFTEN DO YOU READ THE BOOKWORM COLUMN BY TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER?

  • Weekly

  • Occasionally

  • Rarely

  • Never

QUESTION 4: WHICH OPINION COLUMNISTS DO YOU REGULARLY READ?

  • John Skipper

  • Alan Guebert

  • Dennis Clayson

  • Steve Corbin

  • Tim Ackarman

QUESTION 5: IS THERE ANOTHER COLUMNIST YOU'D LIKE TO READ IN THE GLOBE GAZETTE?

QUESTION 6: WHICH LIFESTYLE COLUMNISTS DO YOU REGULARLY READ?

  • Sharon Randall

  • Barton Goldsmith

  • Michelle Sprout Murray

  • Connie Glandon

  • Addie Rugland

  • Carrie Classon

QUESTION 7: IS THERE ANOTHER LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST YOU'D LIKE TO READ IN THE GLOBE GAZETTE?

QUESTION 8: WHICH ONE OF THESE FEATURES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE BACK IN THE GLOBE GAZETTE?

  • Police calls log

  • Marriages, divorces

  • North Iowa Today calendar

  • Expanded Previews page (North Iowa Nine)

QUESTION 9: WANT TO JOIN A FUTURE EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD? YOU'LL HELP WITH DECISIONS LIKE THESE IN THE FUTURE. IF INTERESTED, ADD YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION.

QUESTION 10: ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO TELL US?

Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts and story ideas with me. I have appreciated them all. Please keep them coming.

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