Someone is going to be mad at The Colorado Sun today, and we have ourselves to blame.

They’re likely to get fired up about one or more of our opinion columns, so I want to offer some thoughts about why we bother sharing such opinions when we know that they’re guaranteed to rub someone the wrong way every week.

Larry Ryckman

We have been publishing The Colorado Sun online for nearly a year, and without a doubt I hear more criticism about opinion columns than anything else. So please let me explain our thinking about it.

To be clear, The Colorado Sun does not have its own editorial voice, partisan agenda or any aim other than to serve Coloradans quality journalism and to highlight the people, places and issues that make our state such a vibrant place to live, work and play. 

The Sun does not make endorsements of any kind, but we seek to provide a forum where Coloradans from many outlooks and backgrounds can come together to share their perspectives in a thoughtful, informed way. All columns are clearly labeled opinion so that readers can distinguish them from The Sun’s own journalism.

If you’d like to share an opinion column, send offerings to Columns should be in the 700- to 800-word range and include the author’s email address, Twitter handle if applicable and a brief tagline identifying the author. We seek fact-based columns that focus on Colorado issues or that have a particular Colorado perspective.

At this point in our nation’s history, as much or more than any other, we need to develop thicker skin and take a moment to consider points of view that diverge from our own. And though it’s difficult to see readers occasionally walk away from us in anger over an opinion column, there’s a more important dynamic at work: We view the Sun as a proving ground for the uniquely American notion that we thrive amid a fully-stocked marketplace of ideas.

I think about my own extended family when we gather for holidays or other events. Like many families, we have wide differences when it comes to politics, religion and social issues. Sometimes we avoid those topics altogether for the sake of better digestion around the dinner table, but other times we dive into them — so far without resorting to name calling, shouting or food fights. Rarely are minds changed, but I like to think that we at least come away with a better understanding of each other’s point of view, or we hear an argument we hadn’t previously considered. We have remained on speaking terms through several presidential elections, Supreme Court battles and turkey dinners.

That’s what we’re trying to promote with our opinion columns. Please remember that these columns don’t reflect The Sun’s perspective — they are the opinions of the authors themselves. Just today, we have a column from someone seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and we have a column from someone who supports him. We’ve had lively columns on many sides of the debate over zero emission standards for automobiles. We recently riled some readers by sharing columns that had very different takes on growth controls in Lakewood.

Believe me, the safest course would be to avoid opinion columns altogether at The Colorado Sun. But we’re seeking to build and promote a Sun community that involves readers from a wide variety of backgrounds, with varied viewpoints and experiences.

Those different views are part of living in Colorado. We have more registered independents than either Republicans or Democrats. That kind of diversity makes Colorado stronger, and certainly more interesting. 

I don’t ask or expect you to like or agree with every opinion column we share with you. In fact, I’m sure you won’t. But I do hope that we can prompt some thought, some discussion, some new understanding. If you’d like to offer your own fact-based analysis to further the conversation, then we’re ready to listen.

And please pass the biscuits.

Larry Ryckman is Editor and co-founder of The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to (Learn more about how to submit a column.)

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Larry Ryckman is Editor and co-founder of The Colorado Sun. Previously he was senior editor at The Denver Post, managing editor at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and city editor at the Greeley Tribune. Ryckman spent 22 years at The Associated Press, where he was assistant managing...