Pace: Thank you, Hamilton and Muftic, for so many great opinions over the years
With their time and talents, William Hamilton and Felicia Muftic have been fantastic columnists for the Sky-Hi News for over 10 years now, repeatedly using their deep political knowledge, sharp wit and skillful writing to pen cutting opinion columns about big national issues.
As their loyal readers know, Hamilton comes at topics from the right to center-right while Muftic approaches them from a prism that leans left. Hamilton, whose column first appeared in a Nebraska newspaper in 1984 quite amazingly, came on board with the Sky-Hi News first, and then Muftic was brought in as his counterbalance. What’s perhaps most impressive, though, is that both Hamilton and Muftic have done all of the work pro bono — completely free of charge.
Over the years, each author has displayed a mastery of their columns, and gained a strong following along the way. Their columns appeared in the Sky-Hi News for years until more recently, when the decision was made by the editor before me to move them online only.
After meeting with both columnists, I found them extremely enjoyable, and precisely what an editor would want in a political columnist — well traveled, plugged into politics, smart and fiercely opinionated.
I say all of this now because the Sky-Hi News will no longer carry national political columns online anymore. People can say what they want, but my decision has nothing to do with the opinions expressed, quality of writing or that I’ve suddenly succumbed to political pressures from either side. Rather, this is a decision based on where I believe the newspaper must direct its attention: Grand County and the surrounding area.
It’s not lost on me that the national divide only seems to be growing deeper and deeper. I see social media driving the wedge further and further, and I’ve watched as people shred each other online when I truly believe they could otherwise be friends.
While I believe Muftic and Hamilton have both offered many, many great opinions over the years — and they have been great for this newspaper, too — there are many political columnists out there, and I feel like the Sky-Hi News needs to offer coverage people don’t find anywhere else.
Sitting down with Muftic and Hamilton in separate instances for about 45 minutes to an hour each, I told them when they offer columns on what’s happening in Grand County, I’ll try to carry those pieces online, or even in print again, but I won’t be publishing columns on national politics anymore.
Some people might have noticed Muftic had a column in this Wednesday’s paper. That was because she wrote about Fraser getting sued by the ACLU over the town’s sign code. How often Muftic’s and Hamilton’s columns will hit locally and appear in the Sky-Hi News, though, won’t be nearly as often as they have in the past.
To their loyal readers, I would like to point out this decision won’t quash the columns because both Muftic and Hamilton have their own platforms online. While the regular political columns won’t be on this newspaper’s website anymore, Hamilton’s columns will continue appearing in syndicate and on his website at Central-View.com. Additionally, Muftic runs a blog at MufticForumBlog.BlogSpot.com and a corresponding Facebook page to promote it.
In sitting down with Hamilton and Muftic, both of them told me they thought readers deserved an explanation for my decision to stop carrying national political columns, and I agreed. I sincerely hope that both writers will read this as more than an explanation, though, because after they’ve given so much to this newspaper, I believe Hamilton and Muftic both deserve a public, heartfelt thank you from me and from the newspaper. Their work over the years has been nothing short of spectacular, and it is appreciated.
I hope people understand I’m making this call because I believe a community newspaper has to live locally.
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Grand County residents managed to avoid gatherings, wear masks, stay apart and reduce the COVID numbers over the holidays. They kept family and visitors under control, and the numbers of infected people went down.