Matthew Von Pinnon
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum.
- Member for
- 4 years 1 month
Last week, Forum Communications Co., parent company of The Forum, rolled out over four days the results of a North Dakota political poll focusing on two weighty state measures and two hotly contested candidate races. Our aim was to give our audience some idea of how voters felt about these matters roughly a month before what many expect to be a record-turnout primary election on June 12. After much research, the company hired a reputable polling firm from Des Moines, Iowa, to survey 500 likely voters May 3-8.
I rarely, if ever, respond to letters to the editor that are critical of The Forum. There are several reasons for this. First: Being by far the largest news source in our region, we carry much influence - and that comes with big responsibilities. If people think we're wrong or don't like what we're doing, they should have a means to tell us and everyone else using that same reach. Second: We believe to our core that open discussion is the key to a strong democracy. By giving our critics a large forum, it makes us sharper and ideally builds trust in our product.
Today marks the six-month anniversary of our SheSays section. If you had asked us back on Oct. 1, we could never have anticipated the strong outpouring of emotions a modern-day women's section would garner. We heard from young and old alike. Some said it reminded them of women's sections of yesteryear.
On Friday afternoon, reporter Wendy Reuer and photographer Carrie Snyder ran out to a three-vehicle accident that was snarling traffic on the westbound lanes of Interstate 94 in Fargo. The female driver, who North Dakota Highway Patrol officers said caused the accident, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A child passenger in her car fell into the care of officers until family members could pick her up. Snyder captured several photos of the scene, including some of the woman being arrested and a patrol officer escorting the little girl to his vehicle. For whatever rea
We learned last week that North Dakota government expects to have $1.5 billion in surplus and reserves by the middle of next year. By most measures, that's an extremely conservative estimate. Tax collections from almost all categories continue to blow away projections, and the pace of oil production is only picking up. It's why The Forum launched the "Billion-dollar Bracket" contest on today's front page. We asked readers to submit their ideas for how the state should best spend its immense and rapidly growing public wealth.
Whenever local folks gather these days, the Fighting Sioux issue inevitably comes up. Everybody's got an opinion about it, but the prevailing response lately seems to be: "I wish it was over." It's a noncommittal comment that doesn't pick sides. It suggests sharing an opinion is likely to guarantee the debate will never end.
I have lived within a half-mile of railroad tracks my entire life. I suspect others in Fargo-Moorhead - two cities named after railroad men - can say the same. I like the rhythmic clickety-clack of train cars moving along the track and the ding-dong warning song of the crossing arms, especially on an open-window summer night.
Meet the seven new members of The Forum's Readers Board. They join five returning members whose terms expire in June. Members stay on for a year, but terms are staggered by a half-year. The paper's community sounding board chooses its own successors. We want to first thank departing members whose terms expired in December: Gurnee Bridgman, Lisa Dahlen, Marcy Matson, Kevin Melicher, Tom Thoreson and Joshua Voytek. New members are: Mary Batcheller, 29, of Fargo is director of business development for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.
Last weekend, on this very page, we ran a letter critical of our reporting on the criminal case of Dr. Jon Norberg. The letter writer specifically criticized The Forum's decision to not initially name Norberg's sexual assault victim as his wife. The letter writer was not alone in her criticism. I took several calls - all from women - who were upset that we did not identify the victim as Norberg's spouse until she later chose to make her name public. "The fact that his wife accused him of rape changes everything," one woman told me.
On a day every December for the past six years, about a dozen editors sit down to determine who will be The Forum's Area Person of the Year. Before that day comes, we always solicit nominations from our readers. Editors also bring their own nominations. The criteria for the selection? Simply, who had the most impact on our area this past year? The meeting in which the selection is narrowed and ultimately chosen can get pretty heated.