The Forum and its readers are lucky to have so many great opinion columnists -- whether we agree with their opinions or not. They challenge us to consider their viewpoints, which is what any good Opinion section does.

What many readers may not know is that apart from Mike McFeely and Rob Port, who are employees, everyone else from our area who writes for our Opinion section is a contributor. In other words, they are not on staff and don't earn a full-time salary.

Our area Opinion columnists may be motivated to write for a variety of reasons, but earning a living is not one of those.

Some of our Opinion columnists -- Jack Zaleski, Jane Ahlin, Lloyd Omdahl, Jim Shaw -- have been sharing their thoughts for many, many years. In the past several years, we've added columns from Jon Hauser, Roxane Salonen, Syed Sajid Ahmad, Tony Bender, Bette Grande and re-introduced Ross Nelson, who had previously written a column for The Forum.

We'd like to add more voices to that roster. Specifically, we'd like to add more voices from women and younger folks, but we're not opposed to considering columns from men and people with more life experience, either.

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Those interested in trying to write a regular opinion column -- whether weekly, monthly or twice a month, are encouraged to email a 500-word column that may be published to with "I'm your next great columnist" in the subject line. Please include your full name and city of residence with the column.

We'll publish some of those for readers to sample and, depending on reader feedback we receive, may encourage more columns from certain writers and ultimately choose to sign up a few new columnists over a period of time.

There's an old adage in the newspaper world that goes: "Everyone's got three good columns in them. It's what you do beyond those that sets good columnists apart from the rest." Writing a good, regular column is no easy task. But we're confident our next great opinion columnist is just waiting to be found. Now's the time for them to give us their best shot.