Matt Zencey

Overview of web and print work for Anchorage Daily News

Even before I became editorial page editor, I helped bring the opinion section into the Internet age. We produced editorial slide shows, video editorials and animated satires. After becoming editorial page editor, I recruited bloggers to write for our Alaska Voices feature. I started our reader-submitted photo gallery, Anchorage: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, as a way for readers to make comments about our community with photos. It was consistently among the most visited parts of the paper’s web site. We used the opinion section web site to publish op-eds and letters that did not make it into the print edition.

In the early 2000s, I edited a print feature called “Point/Counterpoint,” which required recruiting opposing points of view on topical issues. For our Q&A feature, I interviewed people whose good work to improve the community might otherwise been overlooked. I was the paper’s most frequent contributor of Alaska Notebooks, mini-essays about interesting slices of local life. In one particularly productive year, I wrote 245 editorials, edited 69 Point/Counterpoints, produced 27 Sunday Q&A interviews and wrote 47 Alaska Almanacs. (I was a little drained after all that.)

Before the Internet era, I introduced a host of innovations to our opinion section. Community Voices was a panel of guest columnists, recruited openly from our readership, who added diversity to the opinions published in our section. “The Almanac” was a regular feature using a series of numbers or statistics to make an editorial point. Working with our photographers, I produced photo-essay editorials. I created “Reading Between the Lines,”  an occasional feature that debunked duplicitous arguments from powerful interests.

I conceived and executed our “Send Me to Juneau” contest, in which our section sent an ordinary citizen to our isolated, insular state capital to lobby on an issue of his/her choice. (Nick Kristof of the New York Times now holds a similar contest offering overseas travel to his readers.) I also resurrected my paper’s annual dubious achievement awards, known as the “Soapy Smith Awards,” after the legendary Gold-Rush-era con man.

As an editor, I collaborated well with my staff and guest contributors. This link has many examples of compliments I received from those whose work I edited. Talk to those I worked with at the Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and they will say the same thing.

  1. […] News, I had been editorial page editor and assistant editorial page editor. (More about that work here.) I currently do free-lance editing for Delaware First […]

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