Letters from the Editor: Asking the readers for input

What would you like to see more of in the Daily Pilot in 2011?

That's a question I am posing to readers in our online poll at dailypilot.com.

I know Web surveys are unscientific, but they can be a window into what people are thinking. And now that I've been editor of the Daily Pilot and other Times Community News products in Orange County for nearly a year, I want to know more about what readers expect from their hometown newspapers.

So tell me.

I've asked readers to vote in seven broad categories: Politics, Public Safety, Sports, Opinion/Columns, Entertainment/Arts, Education and Business.

Here's what I think of the categories.

The poll's been up awhile but I wanted to use this space to call more attention to it. To date, Education is leading in votes so far. That makes sense. Readers care about schools — either because they have or have had children in them — or because they understand that nothing affects property values quite like school rankings.

Along those quality-of-life lines, Public Safety has so far ranked second. This is why we not only report on major crimes in our area, but why we also publish a daily crime blotter so readers can learn about calls big and small made to police.

If I were to vote online, I would choose Politics. The category interests me, largely because much of my reporting life was spent covering government, but I also feel strongly that it is the role of newspapers to stand watch over city halls.

I also think we've done well in the category for Opinions and Columns, with a strong stable of local columnists and great Forum pieces by members of the community. Our election-time letters, in particular, made great reading. But I also understand that getting and giving opinions is pretty easy these days, so maybe readers want less of this in the Pilot?

Arts and Entertainment coverage has also been routinely strong. I feel like we've found a good balance between coverage of major institutions, such as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and smaller venues and artists. I do think this is an area that could be expanded, particularly with more on the vibrant, home-grown scene.

One of the things that made me proud in 2010 was the return of the Business page, which is published Tuesdays, but in addition to that we now publish business stories almost every day. We've also added news content to our real estate section, which previously only carried advertising and advertorial.

So this is the part where I ask you to go to DailyPilot.com and pick from the categories that interest you most. Go online and bubble in your answer.

Maybe you have more specific requests that defy easy categorization. Maybe you disagree with the direction we're taking. Leave a comment below this column. Tell me what you want to read about.

I am listening.

JOHN CANALIS is the editor for the Daily Pilot, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and Huntington Beach Independent. He can be reached at (714) 966-4607 and john.canalis@latimes.com.

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